The funny thing is that if Boston had offered him an extra $1 million, he’d likely be playing for the Red Sox right now.
Martin, who chose instead to try to resurrect his career with the Yankees last winter, told ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand, “I hate the Red Sox.”
“Anything to get the Red Sox out would be awesome for me,” he said one day before the teams square off in a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
Martin couldn’t isolate exactly why he feels as he does.
“I guess it just comes with the territory,” Martin said. “When you wear the pinstripes, you just kind of learn to be that way.”
Maybe. But if Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia hate the Red Sox, they sure have done a good job of covering it up. Mostly it seems like the best players on both teams have great respect for the best on the other, perhaps with some exceptions pertaining to Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett and Joba Chamberlain.
The Red Sox and Yankees were the finalists for Martin’s services last winter after he was let go by the Dodgers. The Red Sox opted to stick with Jarrod Saltalamacchia after Martin took the Yankees’ $2.5 million offer, and it’s worked out quite well for both teams. Red Sox catchers are fourth in the AL with a .743 OPS this year, while Yankees catchers are eighth at .716. Martin himself is hitting .236/.323/.404 in 406 at-bats.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.