Signing J.D. Martinez to a one-year, $10 million contract might go down as the biggest move the Los Angeles Dodgers made this offseason. Martinez was essentially brought in to replace Justin Turner (who traded places with him and signed with the Boston Red Sox) and provide a quality bat against left-handed pitching.
Martinez re-joins Mookie Betts in Los Angeles as the Dodgers seemingly attempt to rebuild the 2018 Boston Red Sox team that beat them in the World Series. Heck, the team also signed Freddie Freeman from the 2021 Atlanta Braves and traded for Trea Turner and Max Scherzer from the 2019 Washington Nationals. There might be a trend here.
The Dodgers aren't just bringing over players from teams that beat them in the playoffs, though. Andrew Friedman is also hiring personnel from those teams, and the latest hire might be a bit controversial among Dodgers fans.
J.T. Watkins might not be a member of the hated 2017 Houston Astros team, but he played a key role with the 2018 Boston Red Sox team. Watkins reportedly would use in-game video to look for signs and adjust his scouting reports accordingly, which ultimately got him fired after MLB conducted an investigation.
Dodgers fans are right to feel conflicted about hiring J.T. Watkins
Dodgers fans would have never even heard about this signing or known the name J.T. Watkins if he wasn't directly involved in Boston's sign-stealing scandal. But he was, and now fans have to juggle how they feel about bringing in someone who seemingly bent the rules to beat them in a World Series.
Does this mean the Dodgers are up to some "creative" ways to look for signs that fall in the realm of the rule book? Is Watkins' scouting really that good where Betts and Martinez vouched for him? Or was it just a product of the rule manipulation?
Nobody can really answer that, but one thing's for certain: the Dodgers have arguably the best coaching staff in the entire sport when it comes to unlocking potential and helping players reach their ceilings. If the Dodgers believe in Watkins, then it must mean the guy is a helpful resource, regardless of his past infractions.
It's totally fair to feel conflicted as a fan, especially after this offseason has stripped the Dodgers of a large part of their identity.
But come July, we'll likely forget about this hire altogether.