And then after I had a good laugh at Chaim Bloom shitting his team's best players away, I thought about it for a second. Yes, we laugh about all the 2018 Red Sox on other rosters right now, but this season will feature Cody Bellinger in LA, Corey Seager in Arlington, A.J. Pollock in Seattle, Joc Pederson and Alex Wood in San Francisco, and all of Kiké Hernandez [note the accent, Boston fans who are mad at Chaim Bloom right now], Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner are in Boston.
So as much as it feels natural to laugh at the Dodgers for having all these Red Sox people now, the Sox have all these Dodgers people now. And Chaim Bloom, like Theo Epstein before him, knows how to swing a good Japanese import.
And so the image of J.D. Martinez and Justin Turner DHing for each other's teams is, while initially novel, more than simply a 'hey, they swapped guys'. There's been several well-publicized swaps of two relatively equal players at one position, like Troy Glaus for Scott Rolen, Troy Tulowitzki for Jose Reyes, Francisco Lindor for Amed Rosario for that matter, and Josh Donaldson for Brett Lawrie [which, as Billy Beane will tell you, seemed like a good idea at the time]. But this is just two deals that conveniently happened at once to look like a straight trade. The closest thing to this I can think of is something like The Cubs signing Eric Karros and the Dodgers signing Fred McGriff after they had played for the other team.
The funny part is that the team that is trying the hardest to rebuild, Boston in this case, got the older player here. Justin Turner is 38 this year, and while he still had some nice seasons in his late 30s, he's not really a defensive asset anymore, and his contact abilities are expected to decline further this year. Look, he might get something done, he might be a decent piece, but it's not a move where the Sox are thinking about the future of the team. If anything, Turner's a handy guy to have around, he'll be great with the veteran demographic of the fanbase, and he'll fit just on the basis of being a contact hitting bearded guy. Most teams have a Hall of Fame, the Sox have a Hall of Contact-Hitting Bearded Guys. Johnny Damon, Kevin Youkilis, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, etc etc. And now Turner.
Martinez, on the inverse, is 35, and while his numbers have declined since the beginning of his Boston run, he is still somewhat in a decent spot in his career. His last two seasons he's made All-Star teams as a DH, he had 99 RBIs in 2021, and while he didn't lead the league in doubles last year [as he did in 2021], he did hit one more double than his league-leading 42 from the previous year.
The guy's hit 130 homers in his 30s, he's only 35 and he's suiting up for a lineup that's still considered one of the best in the league. Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Max Muncy and now David Peralta are crucial pieces of this lineup, and you still have people like Will Smith, Chris Taylor and Miguel Rojas who can pop in as often as they'd like. Martinez fits really well into this lineup, even if this does feel like a pared-back, lower-stakes Dodgers team compared to not only past variations but also the Padres' souped-up lineup.
I'm thinking this will ultimately work out in LA's favor, but it's very much an early assessment. For now, I'll enjoy how odd it is for these two to be in each other's jerseys. That novelty will wear off soon, I reckon.