Diamondbacks News

Arizona Diamondbacks: Martinez transitioning to new team, new league

By Mark Brown
J.D. Martinez continues his transition to the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Duane Burleson/Getty Images
J.D. Martinez continues his transition to the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Duane Burleson/Getty Images /
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Outfielder J. D. Martinez of the Arizona Diamondbacks hopes for a smooth change.

Like a tsunami churning through the water, the news hit J. D. Martinez of the Arizona Diamondbacks like those crashing waves.

About the power and uncertainty of a great storm, Martinez was caught off-guard, unguarded and defenseless.  Trapped in the whims of the baseball gods and caught in expanded discussion of post-season play, Martinez was swept into the raging currents of trade discussions. One night he was preparing to put a sparkling white uniform with the crest of the old English “D” and the next night, that was swiped for deep gray decorated with snakes.

One of the players rumored to move during the weeks leading up to the trading deadline, Martinez was, indeed, packaged in a deal to the desert. With the transaction for three minor league prospects came a total disruption of life.

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The easy part is simply change uniforms. The challenging aspect is protracted.

That involves making decisions on finances, housing, transportation, life-style and new physical surroundings. All went down in a flash on July 18 when the south Florida native was dealt from the Tigers to the Diamondbacks.

New league, new pitchers, new teammates, new city, new everything.

Before Tuesday’s game with Atlanta. Martinez explained to Venom Strikes in a quiet Arizona clubhouse how immediate the trade and how sudden the decisions.

"“If this was in the off-season, you’d have time to adjust,” he said. “In the middle of the season like this, you have to make quick decisions without knowing the conditions or the city. As things turn out, this is what it is and you deal with it.”"

If the trade was clearly traumatic, events of his first game with Arizona clearly complicated matters. In this second at bat against the Reds’ Tim Adleman, Martinez was struck on the left hand and left the game immediately. Day-to-day with a hand contusion, Martinez missed the next four games, and made his first Chase Field appearance last Sunday. That’s when drew a walk as a pinch hitter.

Declared ready the next day, manager Torey Lovullo placed Martinez in the line-up and the 6-3, 221 pounder delivered with a monstrous, three-run homer in the sixth. The ball carried to dead center field, and traveled half-way up the batter’s eyes background, and hit just under a giant video board. That prompted Lovullo to tell Venom Strikes that the transition was nearly complete.

"“When he hit the homer, it all came together,” he said. “That was a great moment for him, and a great moment for the team.”"

For the rest of the season, Martinez is slated to earn $11.7 million this season, and the Diamondbacks will pick the remaining of his salary. What happens next seems of little concern to the parties.

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When he made the deal last week, general manager Mike Hazen told reporters in a conference call that the trade was made with solely 2017 in mind. The goal is immediate and clearly in focus. In the context of any post-season discussion, the Martinez trade, or moves in the future, are totally geared toward winning now.

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