The man who beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 World Series with the Boston Red Sox is ... now a Los Angeles Dodger throwing subtle shade at the Boston Red Sox. What a world! But that's a good way for JD Martinez to immediately become endeared to the fanbase.
The veteran slugger signed a one-year, $10 million contract with LA in the offseason and was said to have taken less money to play for a contender. His agent, Scott Boras, acknowledged that (shocker), but Martinez also confirmed the circumstances shortly after Spring Training began.
It's unclear if the Red Sox were truly interested in bringing back Martinez based on what he said this week on the Bradfo Sho podcast. The two sides never talked about a deal during the season, but the Sox indicated they would be "in" on Martinez when the offseason came along.
In the end, the Sox and Dodgers essentially swapped Martinez and Justin Turner, which ended up being more cost-effective for LA. Turner signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Red Sox (which could turn into a two-year, $22 million contract), while Martinez got $10 million for one year. They're essentially the same type of hitter in the DH spot (Turner will not be logging many reps at third base with Rafael Devers present).
It was a win for Martinez, too, because he had no time to waste. He wanted to play for a team geared for October ... which the Red Sox very much are not, objectively speaking.
JD Martinez slightly shades Red Sox when talking about joining Dodgers
"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. 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."- JD Martinez
Now, did Martinez directly say the Red Sox were not bound for October? No. But if he was willing to take a pay cut to be on a winning team, then why wouldn't he relay that information to Boston's front office to get a deal done so he wasn't floating in the uncertainty puddle in free agency? Probably because the Red Sox had a horrific 2019, 2020 and 2022 (with a fraudulent 2021 ALCS run in there) and look even worse off heading into 2023.
The Dodgers, even though it seems like they significantly downgraded from last year, have been the model of consistency in MLB. 10 straight playoff appearances. Nine division titles in 10 years. Three World Series appearances and one victory over that span.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, have been a pretty solid representation of volatility. Five playoff appearances, two division titles and two World Series titles over that span ... but four last-place finishes in the division and four losing seasons. They missed the playoffs the year after winning the WS both times.
Martinez experienced the highs and lows. Turns out, he probably didn't prefer how drastically the Sox bottom out (through self-inflicted wounds more than anything) and saw the writing on the wall after all the damage that's been done since the end of the 2018 season.