Posted on July 19, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The Detroit Tigers long-awaited fire sale may have just begun, and the Arizona Diamondbacks appear to be the first team to benefit. Tuesday evening, the Diamondbacks acquired outfielder J.D. Martinez in a trade with the Tigers. Detroit will receive three prospects as part of the deal: Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King. All three prospects are shortstops.
The trade comes 24 hours after there was some suspicion that Martinez was on the move, as he was removed from Monday’s game prematurely. However, it turns out Martinez came out of the game after experiencing tightness in his back. It turned out to be just a precautionary move that had no impact on Martinez being traded to Arizona. Prior to the trade being announced on Tuesday night, Martinez was originally in the lineup for Detroit’s game against the Royals.
Martinez was arguably the most impactful offensive player on the trade block this summer. Despite missing the first six weeks of the season with a foot sprain, he’s put together a career year. In 200 at-bats this season, Martinez is hitting .305 with an OPS of 1.018. He is set to be a free agent following the season. But over the next two and a half months, he has the potential to be an impact player.
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In Arizona, Martinez will join a lineup that’s already fifth in the National League in runs scored. The Diamondbacks have been led this season by standout performances from the likes of Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, and David Peralta. But there’s always room for more offense, especially with the Diamondbacks trying to secure a wild-card spot and perhaps threaten the Dodgers at the top of the NL West.
With the Diamondbacks, Martinez is likely to become the team’s primary left fielder, alongside A.J. Pollock in center field and Peralta in right field. Yasmany Tomas began the season as Arizona’s left fielder. But he’s been absent since early June with a groin injury. Tomas suffered a setback during a minor league rehab assignment, and so there’s no definite timeline for his return to action.
While Tomas has been out, the Diamondbacks have used a revolving door of candidates in left field. That list includes Gregor Blanco, utility infielder Daniel Descalso, backup catcher Chris Herrmann, and Rey Fuentes. However, none of those players represent a full-time solution to the vacancy in left field. Tomas could end up being the odd man out when he returns from injury, but since the Diamondbacks don’t know when he’ll be back, they decided to find a permanent answer.
Meanwhile, the Tigers have acquired three young infielders. Lugo, who is currently at double-A, was ranked as Arizona’s fourth best prospect, according to MLB.com. It remains to be seen if he’ll develop into an everyday player, but he should at least be a useful utility player. MLB.com listed Alcantara as Arizona’s no. 15 prospect. He has the tools to be an elite defensive shortstop, but he still needs to prove himself as a hitter. King is an 18-year old still playing in rookie ball, although he was a standout player in the Dominican Summer League last year.
All things considered, this is a great trade for the Diamondbacks. Martinez is just a rental player, but he may be the best offensive player any team acquires this trade season. They managed to acquire him without giving up any elite prospects or players they may have to rely on the rest of the season. The Tigers acquired three prospects with some potential, but no real impact prospects. Meanwhile, Arizona’s chances to reach the postseason have significantly improved following this trade.