Remember Jose Martinez? He was the veteran bat first, glove second player the New York Mets signed this offseason to a minor league deal. I was hyped when they landed him. Viewed as a nice bench bat to have this year, preseason knee surgery knocked him out of baseball action until this past weekend.
After months of waiting, Martinez began his rehab assignment for the Mets. Although he isn’t the caliber of player that could potentially save the floundering Mets offense, his track record does show the ability to provide them with a little boost.
As Michael Baron wisely pointed out, his role could be to platoon in right field with Michael Conforto.
Jose Martinez can provide the Mets with some fresh energy
None of Martinez’s lifetime numbers have changed since joining the team in the offseason. Still a career .289/.356/.447 hitter with an average of 16 home runs per 162 games, he’s an underrated bat with a nice mix of pop and contact.
Martinez hit over .300 twice for the St. Louis Cardinals. Even with just a single season of reaching 400 plate appearances in his career, we should view Martinez favorably. That is, of course, largely predicated on how long it takes for him to ramp up and how well he recovering from his knee injury.
Martinez can do some serious damage against left-handed pitchers. Lifetime, he has slashed .307/.382/.534 in 348 opportunities. Pair him with Conforto or at least get his bat into the lineup each day when a southpaw is on the mound is an absolute must.
Then again, maybe we don’t have to limit Martinez to this singular role.
In 1,038 plate appearances versus righties, Martinez is a .283/.347/.418 hitter. These numbers won’t put him in Cooperstown, but they are more than what we have gotten from a good number of the Mets hitters in 2021.
During these dire times, the Mets are going to need to try whatever they can to get the best lineup on the field. This means riding the hot bat for as long as they can. We saw it earlier in the year when Tomas Nido began playing much more often during James McCann’s early-season slump.
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If Martinez is able to prove he’s ready for big league action, there is no time to waste. He needs to be in the lineup every single day that makes sense until performance from him or someone else dictates otherwise.