Barring a miracle, the Detroit Tigers will be looking to move some serious assets out of the Motor City in the coming weeks. Of the likely pieces to actually be moved, none of the potential farewells might hurt as bad on an emotional level as the likely departure of one J.D. Martinez.
The situation with Martinez, who is currently ranked as “most likely player to be traded” at the deadline by www.mlbtraderumors.com, bears some resemblance to a situation the Tigers dealt with in 2015 regarding another superstar outfielder: one Yoenis Cespedes.
Through his 48 games played this season, Martinez has accrued a .299 average with 14 home runs and 31 RBI’s. Also consider his .387 on-base percentage, .635 slugging percentage, and 1.021 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage), and you easily see why there should be no shortage of teams lining up for Martinez’s services down the stretch run.
We witnessed Cespedes play to a slightly lower clip leading up to July in the 2015 edition of Detroit Tigers baseball. Through July 6th, 2015, Cespedes had racked up a batting average of .294, while the on-base percentage was much lower than that of Martinez this year: just .322. He had also amassed 10 home runs and 44 RBI’s by this stage of the season.
At the same stage of the 2015 season (through July 6th), the Tigers stood just one game above .500 at 41-40 and was exactly six games out of first place in the American League Central. Cespedes’s exit from the Motor City didn’t come until July 31st, when he was shipped to the New York Mets for Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. While Cessa is no longer a part of the Tigers organization, we all know what Fulmer has done. After winning the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year award, he is the team’s lone All-Star representative this year.
Martinez, who is in the final year of his current contract, is going to be too expensive for the Tigers to be able to keep in Detroit. Much like the situation with Cespedes, who was in the final year of his contract in 2015, he will likely be dealt in an attempt to bring ready-to-play prospects over. The next deal that J.D. inks will likely pay him a great deal of money over a respectable term, something that the Tigers are not prepared (or able, for that matter) to afford.
Given the similarities between the two situations, it’s not unfair to expect that if and when a trade is established for Martinez, that the return will be much different than what Detroit received for Cespedes. The moral of the story is just this: try not to worry too much. One American League scout went so far as to recently tell the Detroit Free Press that he’d be comfortable giving up his team’s “number two and number four prospects” for Martinez’s services.
If Martinez is shipped out of town, it will inevitably hurt at least a little bit, maybe in our hearts more than anything else. The thought of watching J.D. belt home runs in anything other than a Tigers jersey is less than entertaining, to say the least. But, keep in mind that rebuilds aren’t meant to be immediate feel good stories. The bright side seems to tell us that there should be some very good and very young talent coming back this way in the deal, should it happen.