When the Los Angeles Dodgers didn't present the qualifying offer to JD Martinez, many felt it was a foregone conclusion they were moving on regardless of the offseason outcomes (aka whether or not they sign Shohei Ohtani).
Why? Because Martinez will probably have a somewhat robust market after his resurgent year in LA. The DH spot is present in both leagues and offense is always a priority. It's easy to see why he was probably a goner if the Dodgers were focusing elsewhere.
But it turns out the Dodgers remain interested in Martinez. MLB insiders Jon Morosi and Jon Heyman reported that over the last couple weeks, which now has fans wondering if there's increased doubt Ohtani will sign with Los Angeles.
Not giving Martinez the QO made a bit of sense for both sides -- the Dodgers wouldn't be at risk of Martinez accepting it on the short deadline and locking up their DH spot for 2024 this early in the offseason, and Martinez wouldn't have draft pick compensation attached to him during an offseason where the aging slugger stands to make a decent amount of money.
But we're curious about the dialogue between the parties. How long is Martinez willing to wait seemingly knowing he's the Dodgers' Plan B? What's the Dodgers' plan if Martinez signs elsewhere and then they don't land Ohtani?
MLB insider makes Dodgers free agent link that creates Shohei Ohtani worry
Is the continued link to Martinez after the QO deadline an indication of a growing belief that the Dodgers may not sign Ohtani? And what about the Dodgers' long-term plan? Is there really interest in a multi-year contract for Martinez, who is probably seeking that as he enters his age-36 season?
Why not sign a better third baseman and move Muncy to DH? Why not sign a younger DH, like Jorge Soler, who can also actually play defense when needed? Another year of Martinez doesn't improve the Dodgers' current lineup, and another two years of Martinez puts the Dodgers in danger of eating a regression season.
Though the Dodgers remain the supposed frontrunner for Ohtani according to various insiders and analysts, many have urged that's just based on dot connecting and speculation. Nobody knows what the two-way star is going to do, and the fact the Rangers and Red Sox have more aggressively entered the fold definitely changes the calculus.
The lone positive here is that the Dodgers are keeping backup plans front of mind right now. Perhaps Martinez just isn't the proper Plan B, that's all we're saying.