The Boston Red Sox aren't what they used to be, and J.D. Martinez found a way to illustrate that point this week.
Martinez signed a one-year, $ 10 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Dec. 29, taking a sizable pay cut after playing out a five-year, $ 110 million deal with the Red Sox.
When asked to explain his thought process entering free agency and if he thought there was a possibility he'd re-sign with Boston, Martinez gave a frank response.
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"I wanted a team that was going to be in October, be in the swing of things all year and give me a chance to win," Martinez told Audacy's Rob Bradford on "The Bradfo Sho" podcast. "I didn't want to get stuck with the Red Sox getting the guy they wanted and me left (feeling) wondering where I was going to go."
Martinez signed his deal with the Dodgers just days before the Red Sox officially signed ex-Dodger Justin Turner to a two-year, $ 21.7 million contract. Turner is expected to help fill Martinez's role as Boston's designated hitter, and Martinez admitted he caught wind of Turner being linked to the Red Sox, which also factored into his decision to join L.A.
"A situation occurred where at the time they had the offer out to JT," Martinez said. "... Everybody talks ... This was an offer that came up seeing if it was something I was interested in doing. Obviously, it was a little bit of a pay cut, but if I held up maybe I could have gotten more."
Boston Red Sox
Martinez leaving the Red Sox to join the Dodgers isn't surprising. Los Angeles won an MLB-best 111 games last season and is well-positioned to compete for a World Series in 2023 with a loaded roster that includes Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Clayton Kershaw.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, finished last in the American League East in 2022 and have low expectations again in 2023 after losing Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Nathan Eovaldi in free agency.
Boston is two seasons removed from reaching the AL Championship Series and just five seasons removed from winning a World Series. The mighty have fallen fast, however, and it's clear that veterans like Martinez no longer view the Red Sox as a legitimate playoff contender.
The club can prove Martinez and the rest of the league wrong by overachieving in 2023, but for now, Martinez's comments offer a sobering reminder of where Boston stands in the MLB hierarchy.