The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping J.D. Martinez can add some pop to their lineup in 2023.
Per ESPN's Jeff Passan, Martinez has agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with the reigning National League West champs.
Despite being connected to many of the top free agents this offseason, the Dodgers have been fairly quiet when it comes to actually finalizing deals.
Los Angeles did re-sign Clayton Kershaw and brought in Noah Syndergaard, but Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger, Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney and Chris Martin are among the free agents who have signed with other teams.
The Dodgers had a projected payroll of $211.4 million next season prior to the addition of Martinez. Adding his $10 million salary to that total still leaves them approximately $11.6 million under the $233 million competitive balance tax.
Dodgers Projected Lineup
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Freddie Freeman, 1B
3. Will Smith, C
4. Max Muncy, 3B
5. Trayce Thompson, CF
6. J.D. Martinez, DH
7. Chris Taylor, 2B
8. Gavin Lux, SS
9. James Outman, LF
Winning 111 games during the regular season hid several problems the Dodgers had on their roster last season. Those flaws were exposed in the playoffs, as they lost to the San Diego Padres in four games in the National League Division Series.
Max Muncy and Chris Taylor dealt with injuries that significantly impacted their performance. Muncy hit .196/.329/.384 with 21 homers in 136 games. He had a .246/.371/.520 slash line and averaged 30 homers per season from 2018-21.
The Dodgers are clearly betting on 2022 being a blip on the radar for Muncy. They signed him to a one-year, $13.5 million extension in August that includes a $10 million team option for 2024.
Taylor posted a .221/.304/.373 slash line with 10 homers and 43 RBI in 118 games during the 2022 season. He hit .265/.343/.461 and averaged 16 homers and 10 stolen bases per season from 2017-21.
If Muncy and Taylor play closer to their pre-2022 levels next season, the Dodgers will have no problem replacing the offensive production they lost with Turner leaving.
Gavin Lux, who was a top-five prospect in MLB prior to the 2020 season, will likely move over to shortstop after primarily playing second base the previous two years. While his power has yet to show up, he took steps forward with the bat last season with a .276 average and .346 on-base percentage.
If the power arrives in 2023, Lux has All-Star upside.
Martinez is more of a luxury than a necessity for the Dodgers, but he does give manager Dave Roberts more lineup flexibility.
His final stat line from 2022 with the Boston Red Sox looks solid (.274/.341/.448), but Martinez's performance was a tale of two halves. The 35-year-old was named to the All-Star team after hitting .302/.368/.481 in 81 games in the first half.
After the All-Star break, however, Martinez struggled with a .233/.301/.400 slash line and seven homers in 58 games. If his decline was due to being an older player who hit a wall, the Dodgers should be careful to manage his playing time.
One encouraging sign for Martinez is he still destroyed left-handed pitching with a .319/.402/.597 slash line in 137 plate appearances against southpaws last season.
Martinez and Muncy, who is a left-handed hitter, could potentially platoon at DH. Muncy finished last season as the Dodgers' primary third baseman. He could return to that role in 2023, but Roberts could also give 23-year-old Miguel Vargas the keys to the hot corner.
Vargas only had 47 at-bats in the big leagues after being called up for the stretch run. Until he establishes himself, Roberts might be better off letting Muncy play third base and making Martinez the primary DH to start the season.