The New York Mets have flexed their financial muscle and made a win-now move—the signing of veteran slugger J.D. Martinez adds immediate thump to their lineup and signals a clear intent to secure a playoff berth. It’s been a long courtship with moments where a deal seemed unlikely, but the Mets ultimately landed their man, and the timing couldn’t be more crucial with the season just around the corner.

Throughout the offseason and spring training, the Mets explored the addition of a designated hitter. Having one of the best in the business, Martinez, always made sense, but the two sides struggled to find a middle ground.

Now, with a week to go before Opening Day on March 28th, the New York Mets and J.D. Martinez have found the perfect compromise: a one-year, $12 million contract, pending a physical, according to sources at MLB.com. President of baseball operations David Stearns admits the Mets have walked a fine line this offseason, balancing competitiveness with an eye toward the future.


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The signing of a 36-year-old DH at first seemed to go against the club’s interest in developing players like Brett Baty and Mark Vientos. But Stearns and team owner Steve Cohen are committed to fielding a playoff-caliber team.

As Martinez’s asking price began to drop toward a more palatable range, the Mets pounced. A portion of his salary will be deferred, according to sources at MLB.com, thus easing the impact on the team’s Competitive Balance Tax—a crucial detail for a team already exceeding MLB’s top CBT threshold.

Read More: New York Mets Owner Steve Cohen Sets High Expectations, Playoff in Sight Following Underwhelming 2023 Season

This is a prime example of how quickly market dynamics can shift. At the start of the offseason, Martinez sought a $20 million deal. In February, he declined a $14 million offer for one year from the San Francisco Giants. While the Mets remained in the background, team owner Cohen expressed weariness about a late addition as recently as Sunday. Yet, circumstances changed, and the team acted decisively.

New York Mets’ J.D. Martinez Move: A late but impactful signing

The late timing of the deal may cause some logistical hurdles as Martinez ramps up for Opening Day. However, the signing undeniably makes the Mets a better team. They won’t have enough playing time for everyone, but that’s the kind of problem a contending team welcomes.


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Martinez is exactly the kind of proven bat the New York Mets were looking for. He’s a six-time All-Star, coming off yet another (consecutively third) All-Star season in 2023 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His power production remains strong, as evidenced by 33 home runs in just 113 games. While he turns 37 in August, the metrics indicate no major drop-off in his ability.

J.D. Martinez’s excellent contact metrics (17.1% barrel rate, 55.1% hard-hit rate) placed him in the top 2% of qualified Major Leaguers in 2023. The addition of the star slugger gives the Mets an immediate boost, addressing a significant weakness in their lineup, as their DHs ranked a lowly 25th in the previous season with a meager .700 OPS. Now, what does this mean for the rest of the Mets’ roster?

This late move puts players like Luke Voit, Ji Man Choi, and DJ Stewart (who are on minor league deals) in a precarious situation. It’s tough to see them making the roster with Martinez now in the fold. Stewart, with a Minor League option left, could potentially stick around, especially if Martinez needs additional preparation time.


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Read More: New York Mets’ David Stearns Believes in His Young Prospects, Aims to Compete While Developing the Future

The New York Mets have acted boldly with this 11th-hour deal, and it shows their focus isn’t just on someday contending; they’re aiming to win right now. The addition of J.D. Martinez is the type of statement signing that solidifies those intentions.