When David Ortz retired, the Boston Red Sox and their line-up took a major hit. It went from having the ninth-most home runs in 2016 to being ranked 27th last MLB season.
Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski knew he had to do something to kickstart the team's power so he added free-agent slugger J.D. Martinez after falling to eventual champions the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series in 2017.
The 30-year-old outfielder hit a career-high 45 home runs last season with the Detroit Tigers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and instantly improves Boston's chances to hit home runs and to win the AL East.
Ortiz will still be missed by the Red Sox, but the three-time World Series champion and 2013 MVP will be the first to tell you Martinez is exactly what the Red Sox needed.
"I went down to camp for four days and I watched J.D. for the first time, [and] for four straight days he hit batting practice...wow," Ortiz – a 10-time All-Star and seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner, told Omnisport.
"That was unbelievable, I mean, the way the ball comes [off] his bat is just a loud explosion, so I'm very excited about this season.
"We have a really good ballclub, J.D. gives us more balance to the line-up, I wish I could still play with him, but I mean, it's not forever."
The bats were in full force today! @Rafael_Devers and @DoctorChill6 homer, @asben16 and @mookiebetts have multi-hit games, part of a 12-run day in #RedSox 8th straight win.— Red Sox (@RedSox) March 20, 2018
Ortiz may no longer be playing with the Red Sox, but Boston made a deal with the future Hall of Famer to work as a player consultant.
The 42-year-old has spent time with the Red Sox during spring training and has witnessed how the team are improving with their winter acquisitions and added experience.
"I like having J.D. in the line-up because he takes a lot of pressure off Mookie [Betts]," Ortiz said.
"He takes a lot of pressure off [Xander] Bogaerts, [Andrew] Benintendi, Hanley [Ramirez], and Hanley now, Hanley had a lot of injury problems last year with his shoulder, now he has a brand new shoulder, he's looking really good in spring training, he's in unbelievable shape, so I think that [they're] all going to be there this year, and that's not even talking about pitching."
The Red Sox open their 2018 season against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 29.
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