Angels seen as an ideal fit for perfect Shohei Ohtani replacement per MLB Insider

J.D. Martinez makes all the sense in the world if Shohei Ohtani departs in free agency.
Oct 9, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28)
Oct 9, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez (28) / Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Angels will presumably do everything in their power to keep Shohei Ohtani around long-term. Ohtani is the best player in the game, just won his second AL MVP award in the last three years, and is one of the few good things going on for this franchise.

While the Angels hope Ohtani stays, it feels very likely that he's going to leave as the team failed to put together a single winning season with Ohtani under contract. Assuming Ohtani departs, the Angels have a gaping hole to fill in their lineup to put together a somewhat competent lineup.

That gaping hole cannot be filled by one free agent alone, but Mark Feinsand of MLB.com matches the Angels with a guy that could be the second-best hitter in this weak free agency class.

J.D. Martinez seen as ideal LA Angels fit per MLB Insider

Feinsand matched one free agent for every MLB team. It comes as no surprise that Feinsand had Ohtani matched with the Dodgers as they've been seen as the favorite to land him for months. While Ohtani going to the Dodgers would obviously be heartbreaking, replacing him with the former Dodgers DH could be the next best thing.

J.D. Martinez is coming off an outstanding year with the Dodgers as he slashed .271/.321/.572 with 33 home runs and 103 RBI in 113 games. He was an all-star and ranked 16th in the majors with a 135 WRC+ for hitters with at least 450 plate appearances. Martinez has been one of the best designated hitters for years now, so replacing Ohtani with him makes a whole lot of sense on the surface.

The downside of adding Martinez to the fold is he, like Ohtani, is just a DH. Martinez doesn't play the field much at all anymore, and when he does, it's not a good idea. Locking up the DH spot limits guys like Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon from ever appearing there, which isn't great in terms of keeping them healthy and in the lineup.

The bottom line here is Martinez is the closest thing to Ohtani in this free agency class. A guy like Cody Bellinger might be a better player because he can play the field, but he's not the hitter Martinez is. If the Angels just want to go about replacing Ohtani with the next best thing, this makes all the sense in the world. It's not a perfect replacement, but that simply doesn't exist when you lose the best player on the planet.

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