The J.D. Martinez era in Houston has apparently ended. According to Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart, the Astros have officially released the 26-year old outfielder.
Martinez told McTaggart he is sad to be leaving Houston, the team that drafted him and brought him to the big leagues.
"Obviously, I’m sad to leave Houston. I love the fans and players and everyone here. I feel like they have a lot of guys coming up, and if there’s not room for me to get at-bats and not room for me to play, it’s best to let me go and not try to hold me back, and I commend them for that and I thank them for that."
I think there are a lot of Astros fans that will also be sad to see J.D. go. Martinez burst onto the scene, swinging a productive bat, at a time when Astros fans needed someone to believe in. Coming to Houston straight from AA late in 2011, Martinez finished the season strong. Unfortunately, the consistency that he showed in his rookie year would elude Martinez for the remainder of his time as an Astro.
Injuries also played a part in a couple of down years for Martinez. But J.D. isn’t one to make excuses. I’m sure he will continue to work hard and find his way back to the big leagues before we know it.
In other roster moves, the Astros have also reassigned lefty reliever Darin Downs, infielder Gregorio Petit, and 1B Japhet Amador.
I liked what Petit showed this spring and was hopeful that he would make the team. But it all boils down to contract status and dollar signs. Petit still has minor league options available, allowing the Astros to stash him at AAA for a while. Cesar Izturis, however, does not. The club has until Tuesday to make a decision on Izturis.
J.D. Martinez (Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)