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BREAKING: Tigers trade Leonys Martin to Indians

On trade deadline day, the Detroit Tigers have dealt away the first of perhaps multiple players, trading away starting center fielder Leonys Martin to the division rival Cleveland Indians.

It is the first deal made between the two clubs since 2010 when the Tigers acquired infielder Jhonny Peralta from the Tribe.

Martín is having arguably his best major league season offensively. The 30-year-old has a career-high .731 OPS and 97 OPS+ and a 98 WRC+ (100 is league average) while playing a premium position defensively. In terms of WAR, he checks in at 2.1 which grades out as a starter-caliber player. Additionally, Martín has registered career-highs in walk rate (8.6%) and an uptick in power (.158 ISO).

In the field, Martín is putting together another solid season, evident by his +3 in the defensive runs saved department and 7.3 in the UZR category. His nine assists not only lead the Tigers but are also tied for the most in the American League.

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Cleveland had been in the market for an outfielder with various injuries at the position. At worst, Martín figures to be a left-handed-hitting platoon option with another former Tigers outfielder in Rajai Davis in center field.

The Tigers signed Martín last December to give the team another viable option to play center field, eventually beating out the likes of JaCoby Jones and Mikie Mahtook for the everyday gig. Contractually, he is under team control through the end of next season via arbitration so the Indians could retain him in the winter.

Also reportedly going to Cleveland as part of the deal is minor league pitcher Kyle Dowdy. A former 12th-round pick in 2015 out of the University of Houston, the 25-year-old Dowdy carries an 8-8 record and 4.74 ERA in 24 games (14 starts) between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. Overall in his three minor league seasons, he has compiled a 3.77 ERA in 72 career games.

In return for Martín and Dowdy, the Tigers will be receiving minor league shortstop Willi Castro from the Indians. He ranked as the team’s No. 8 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Here is the official scouting report on Castro from MLB Pipeline:

A dynamic switch-hitter who produced nearly equal splits in 2017, Castro projects for an above-average bat thanks to his innate barrel skills and his knack for generating hard, line-drive contact from both sides of the plate. While his approach continues to be highly aggressive, Castro did make strides on that front last season by improving both his strikeout and walk rates. He began to show some game power, too, hitting a career-best 11 home runs to surpass his combined total of 10 from his first three seasons, and he continued to offer value on the basepaths with his above-average speed.

 

Loose and athletic on the infield, Castro has the necessary soft hands, actions and arm strength to stick at shortstop. His overall consistency leaves something to be desired after consecutive 25-error seasons, though club officials do expect him to improve defensively as he adds strength to his frame and learns to better control his body.

Following the trade of Martín, the Tigers have recalled outfield prospect Mike Gerber on the active 25-man roster.

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