Ranking the Top Potential Free Agent Signings for the Astros
4) J.D. Martinez
"Fool me one time, shame on you. Fool me two times, shame on me."
J.D. Martinez fooled the Houston Astros during his initial tenure here. In his three seasons in Houston, Martinez hit .251 with a .687 OPS, prompting then GM Jeff Luhnow (having overlooked the swing changes Martinez made in the offseason) to waive the outfielder going into his age-26 season.
Since overhauling his swing and leaving Houston, Martinez has hit .295 with a .910 OPS and 258 home runs, making five All-Star teams and winning three Silver Sluggers.
The former Astro wrapped 2022 with a .274 batting average, .790 OPS, 16 home runs and a career-high 43 doubles. He may never again hit 40 home runs, though his 16 bombs jump to 26 playing his home games in Minute Maid Park, but he is a massive upgrade for the Astros at Designated Hitter. Their DH woes were well-documented. Entering Game 6 of the World Series, Houston still had no surefire candidate.
With Yordan Alvarez "trending" to be the Astros everyday Left Fielder, Houston shouldn't get fooled again. Martinez still brings a big bat to the table, finishing the year in the 87th percentile in xSLG and 84th percentile in xwOBA. He would totally absolve the Astros' issues at DH.
The only downside with Martinez is his complete lack of a glove. He played 139 games in 2022 and all 139 were at DH. By signing Martinez, the Astros lose the DH rest day and Alvarez would be forced to not just be the primary left fielder, but to be the only option.
His lack of versatility makes one DH option (later to come) a more appealing candidate, but Martinez' offensive ability would take the Astros lineup back to the level we saw it function from 2017-2019.