The Detroit Tigers traded outfielder JD Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks for three infield prospects from the Dominican Republic including Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King. Lugo is the D-backs’ No. 4 prospect and Alcantara sits at No. 15. King is a throw-in player.
Martinez’s season didn’t kick-start until May 12 due to an injury. But since his return, Martinez has taken the league by storm with a .305 batting average along with 16 home runs and 39 RBI’s. The Diamondbacks will look to use his big bat to stay in wild card contention in the National League.
The Tigers have been in sell mode for weeks, and Martinez was on top of the “must trade” list. But was it the right move? Here are a few pros and cons of the JD Martinez deal.
The Tigers needed to trade Martinez. He has a powerful bat and is in the final year of his rookie contract. If the Tigers kept Martinez and tried to resign him, he would have likely looked to top Tigers’ left fielder Justin Upton’s mega deal worth $22 million per year over six years. The Tigers are in no shape to do this, leaving them with the option to either let Martinez walk or trade him. The latter is the clear choice.
Since Martinez is only a rental, three prospects is not a bad return, especially Lugo. Lugo will likely spend two years in minors before coming to the majors as a potential replacement to Nick Castellanos at third base. Alcantara will likely work his way into rotation as well at shortstop.
Lugo has the ability to keep power in the Tigers’ lineup. He and Alcantara are both solid defenders, an area in which Detroit hast struggled for years. Alcantara is a switch hitter as well.
King is certainly the wild card of the deal. But at 18 years of age, it is difficult to assess his potential, leaving with a possible upside down the road. His sheer speed may give him the opportunity to enter the majors as a utility player if nothing else.
In any case, these three players give the Tigers an upgrade in youth and athleticism.
The general consensus among most experts around the league seems to be that the Tigers’ return for Martinez was underwhelming. Martinez was one of the more coveted players on the trade block. While rebuilding the farm system is a necessary step for Detroit, the question remains whether the Tigers could have received a bigger influx.
While snatching the Diamondbacks’ No’s. 4 and 15 prospects sounds like a solid haul, it is important to recognize that the Arizona does not have the best farm system in the first place. According to Bleacher Report, they have the fifth worst farm system in the MLB.
Further, three infielders is not necessarily the best influx considering the Tigers’ needs. They desperately need pitchers. Starters are hard to come by, but perhaps a few relievers would be ideal.
The Tigers also need help in the outfield. The Tigers have not had a consistent centerfielder since the days of Austin Jackson. Martinez’s departure also leaves a hole in right field, leaving Alex Presley and Jim Adduci as the only options at that position.
Martinez’s trade could have been used as an opportunity to address areas of need in Detroit. But with Castellanos, 25, at third and Jose Iglesias, 27, at shortstop, these are not the positions the Tigers need to build up as much as others.
Anyone who was expecting big-named players for Martinez is certainly disappointed. But this was never on the table in the first place. The Tigers needed to trade Martinez and they needed a large return of prospects. This is exactly what happened.
However, it is difficult to say if Lugo, Alcantara and King were the best trio the Tigers could have hoped for.
Tigers’ GM Al Avila probably should have waited to trade right until leading up to the deadline. If he did, the Diamondbacks’ offer would have almost certainly still stood, and could have perhaps been bigger.
He also might’ve received a better offer from a different team. Often times, GM’s feel a sense of desperation on July 30 and 31. This could have put Avila in the drivers’ seat, leaving the current trade as a worst-case scenario.
Nevertheless, Martinez had to be traded if the Tigers are serious about rebuilding. The only question is if this was as good as it was going to get for the Tigers. Still, it will take years to find out for sure what kind of players these three prospects will pan out to be.
Anything can happen.