What is it like to be traded? J.D. Martinez offers some insight

Rob Bradford
July 25, 2019 - 10:19 am

The question was simple: "What is it like to be traded?"

The answer was even more succinct: "It's weird."

There are six members of the active Red Sox roster who have been dealt in the middle of a season - Andrew Cashner, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Heath Hembree, Nathan Eovaldi and J.D. Martinez.

As all can attest, the dynamic is indeed a weird one. The team you're in the weeds with for all of spring training and the first three-plus months of the season suddenly becomes nothing more than a memory, with a  whole new collection of teammates now becoming the priority.

"It’s one of those things where you’re in the middle of the season and you have to worry about moving all your crap," Martinez said. "You have to worry about getting along with your teammates. Guys you built relationships with, you don’t really see them anymore."

But, as the outfielder/designated hitter explained, there is a reason the transformation, while strange, isn't necessarily all that uncomfortable. Outside the clubhouse? Sure. But where it counts the most the welcome wagon is a powerful reality.

This is what Martinez learned when being dealt from Detroit to Arizona, July 18, 2017.

"I thought it was going to be more challenging," he said. "The guys are great. You’re going to the team for the most part that is competitive and is going to win so they’re happy to have you. Maybe because they know that you’re going to help them win and that you’re there for a reason. That was the take I got. When I got to Arizona Goldy (Paul Goldschmidt) said, ‘I’m so happy you’re here!’ That’s literally what he said to me. He gave me a hug and everything."

Martinez has recently seen the flip side, as well.

"I texted Cash (Cashner) right away saying, ‘We’re happy to have you. I know you’re going to help us win.’," he noted.

Perhaps the welcoming vibes Martinez references is a reason immediate production in a new uniform isn't hard to muster. For instance, he hit 29 home runs in just 62 games after being shipped to Arizona. Remember when Eduardo Nunez came over to the Red Sox from San Fransisco? He hit .321 with a .892 OPS. Eovaldi's first two starts with the Red Sox last season he went 15 innings without giving up a run. And David Price went 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts with the Blue Jays after being dealt from Detroit.

It doesn't always work out. We've seen Cashner's unspectacular first two starts with the Sox. And we can always default to Eric Gagne's rough run in 2007.

But the, as Martinez pointed out, there is a reason trades can actually be a positive experience for those being asked to leave their buddies behind.

"You go to a team and you don’t know if they’re going to be welcoming and it’s actually the case where they are extremely welcoming because they’re in a run, they’re happy and now they know they have a piece they needed," he said. "They embrace you."