BOSTON — In the first round of All-Star balloting, J.D. Martinez had 500,000 more votes than any other designated hitter in the American League.
He still doesn't think the system is right.
"I believe that the players and coaches should vote," Martinez said "I get that its fun for the fans and stuff like that, I get why MLB does it, at the end of the day it's a business and they have to promote it."
With a new convoluted format this season, Martinez and Mookie Betts are the only Red Sox finalists to start the game Alex Cora will manage next month in Cleveland.
Xander Bogaerts — Boston's most consistent player — was snubbed at shortstop for two candidates with lesser numbers, and though he could still make it as an alternate, it was tough for Martinez to watch.
"Of course, that's what I'm saying," Martinez said. "When the players vote I feel like they do a good job."
Martinez would also like to see players vote on year-end awards like MVP, not writers.
Despite a mammoth offensive season, Martinez wasn't a finalist in the AL MVP race last year. He finished a distant fourth, accruing less than half as many points as Mookie Betts. Martinez doesn't believe BBWAA voters will ever give the award to a designated hitter, and offered an interesting reasoning for that.
"The writers would never allow it," Martinez told the Eagle-Tribune last month. "They'd get blackballed. There's a reason why a lot of people didn't. You've got to think of it like this: Writers want to be what?"
Good question. What do writers want to be?
"They want to work where? They want to work in the front office," Martinez opined. "They want to get jobs with teams and (expletive). These guys that do all the analytics and all the stuff like that. To me, that's what they look at. That's what they're going to value. That's my opinion. If you go against the grain and you're the guy that says that, then you have everybody saying you're bad at your job. It's easier to go with the crowd."
Does Martinez really think all writers aspire to work in front offices?
"Most of them. That's what they want," he reiterated in the Red Sox clubhouse yesterday. "It's just how it is. Everyone that votes on that has aspirations of moving on and becoming something like that."
He doubled down, too, on his idea that group think dictates the way baseball writers cast their ballots.
"Everybody wants to be like, 'Oh yeah, well that's the most valuable thing,'" Martinez said. "But why? 'Oh, because this guy won it.' If you're a writer and you care what you say, then why don't you write your story for how you see it, not for what everybody else does? Because to me, it just follows the trend."
And that's why a DH will need to walk on water — as Martinez has said — to win the MVP award?
"Pretty much," he concluded.
Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Eagle-Tribune and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason