Pete Alonso loudly led recruitment of J.D. Martinez to Mets

Pete Alonso loudly led recruitment of J.D. Martinez to Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE — The longer J.D. Martinez remained available on the free-agent market, the more a clamor arose from within the Mets clubhouse to add his trusted bat.

Martinez and Pete Alonso are both represented by Scott Boras, and the Mets first baseman was vocal, according to Martinez, in his belief the team should add the veteran DH.

“[Alonso], I would say, was very forward with making it known to them that he wanted me here,” Martinez said Saturday at Clover Park, after his one-year deal with the Mets worth $12 million became official.


Martinez, 36, will hit cleanup, manager Carlos Mendoza said, bringing a layer of protection for Alonso in the No. 3 hole.

Last season Martinez hit 33 homers with the Dodgers, but with teams hesitant to spend on free-agent bats over the winter he languished on the market.

Now, the Mets have to get him ready for the season, just as spring training is set to conclude. Martinez has agreed to let the Mets option him to the minor leagues to start the season so he can build up at-bats.

Martinez would have to remain at least 10 days in the minors beginning with Thursday’s opener before he can join the team.


“It kind of sucks,” Martinez said. “Obviously, I want to break with the team, I want to be there for Opening Day — obviously, that is a special thing to be a part of — but I have got to get my body ready now. I have got to get ready for the season and the last thing I want to do is rush through it and get hurt, so I want to make sure I take it slow and build my body up to get back out there.”
Pete Alonso wanted J.D. Martinez on the Mets.


Pete Alonso wanted J.D. Martinez on the Mets.Corey Sipkin for the NY POST
Martinez had a $15 million offer from the Giants earlier in the offseason, but declined over concerns that his numbers would suffer playing his home games in a pitcher’s friendly ballpark in San Francisco.


“If I go there and hit .260 with 20 [homers] people are going to say I’m old and washed up and I’m kind of done and I am going to find myself out of the game,” Martinez said. “I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to continue my career in baseball.

“San Fran is a tough ballpark, especially when you go the other way there. Citi Field is not like that. Most fields aren’t.”

Martinez’s arrival will most affect Mark Vientos, who previously was in position to claim much of the playing time at DH.

There is still a good chance Vientos will open the season with the Mets, but once Martinez is ready to join the club it’s possible Vientos will be optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.
J.D. MartinezJ.D. Martinez brings a powerful bat to the Mets’ lineup.Getty Images
As the Mets took batting practice Saturday, Martinez had his arm around Vientos and conversed with him.

The two train together at the same South Florida facility in the offseason, and Martinez is sympathetic to the 24-year-old’s situation.

“[Vientos] has got so much talent and I understand his frustration,” Martinez said. “I told him there’s plenty of opportunities, whether it’s here or another team, you just go out there and play your game … talent will always find its way to the big leagues.”

Martinez might be Exhibit A: He was released by the Astros in 2014 — he received the news from a young assistant GM named David Stearns, who these days is the Mets’ president of baseball operations.

“We joked about it,” Martinez said, referring to Stearns. “I said, ‘Last time I came into this office with you … ’ It’s cool. It was a blessing.”

Mendoza surrendered his No. 28 so Martinez can wear it.

The manager will now wear No. 64 (he had that number as a Yankees coach).

The number switch didn’t come without a request from Mendoza.

“Hit a lot of homers,” Mendoza said.


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