Detroit Tigers All-Star outfielder J.D. Martinez will be on the move at the trade deadline, but which teams offer him the best fit?
It is selling-off time for the Detroit Tigers, and their most attractive chip is All-Star outfielder/DH J.D. Martinez who is enjoying another solid season despite missing the first month of the regular season with an injury. The 29-year-old pending free agent is one of the few pure sluggers in the league that is able to hit for a high average and spray the ball to all fields with power. Martinez is obliterating his career-high OPS by over 100 points.
The Tigers are going to make an effort to blow up their roster, cut payroll, and rebuild their farm system. That’s a difficult pill to swallow since it now appears they will not win a World Series with Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Victor Martinez as their core. The roster got old in a hurry, and years of win-now trades and contracts have left the Tigers with very little depth in their farm system.
Martinez was an outstanding find for the Tigers after they grabbed him off the waiver wire from the Houston Astros before the 2014 season. He immediately established himself as one of the best overall hitters in the American League by batting .315/.358/.553 in his first season as a full-time MLB starter with 23 home runs and 76 RBI in 123 games. In his four years with the Tigers, Martinez has batted .299/.360/.550 with 108 doubles, 97 home runs, and 277 RBI. On a per-162 basis, he has hit 36 homers with 100 RBI.
For any contender in both leagues, it would be worth the high asking price the Tigers will demand to rent Martinez. He is one of few true impact bats available on the trade market this year, and will also be looking for a long-term home at the end of the season. Get him in the door now, establish a good relationship, and give yourself the inside track during the offseason.
5. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have been one of the sluggingest teams in the American League this year, but could be in the market for an upgrade at DH. Corey Dickerson has served as the team’s DH 44 times this year, but when he plays left field, the Rays have been forced to look for production from a band of middling names like Trevor Plouffe, Rickie Weeks, and Shane Peterson.
Tampa Bay rarely makes a splashy trade at the deadline, but it makes sense for them to be aggressive this year. The New York Yankees are coming back to earth, giving the Rays a better shot at winning the top AL Wild Card. The rest of the league is still floundering around .500, and the Rays are in the driver’s seat when it comes to making the playoffs.
Every other team that is within striking distance of the Rays — think the Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, and Seattle Mariners — will be looking to get better at the deadline. The Rays also have to do the same thing. Trade for Martinez and pair him with Dickerson in left field and at DH and watch the home runs fly.