Summer is officially here. You know what that means baseball fans! It is time to start taking those MLB trade rumors seriously. As we close in on just over a month before the trading deadline, rumors will begin to become more prominent.
It is time for teams to start deciding if they want to buy or sell this season. Names such as Andrew McCutchen, Sonny Gray, Yu Darvish, Ian Kinsler and many more will be talked about on a daily basis. With that said, let’s take a closer look at a team that has been a bit of a surprise this season: the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Before the season began, the NL West was expected to be dominated by the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies were expected to hold their ground, but ultimately fall around the .500 mark. Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres would be a distant last place.
But things have not gone quite that way. The division currently holds the three best teams in the NL, with the Dodgers, Rockies and DBacks all with at least 44 wins. While the Rockies currently hold the division, the other two would be holding the Wild Card slots. However, anytime you are third in your division, you need to be really good to capture a playoff slot.
So the time is now for Arizona to make a move. As of right now, the team has the likes of Danny Descalso and Gregor Blanco in their starting lineup. If a team wants to stay competitive, names like those should really be coming off the bench as defensive replacements, not starting day to day.
The team should be getting AJ Pollock back soon. But given his injury history, can they really rely on him at this point? Yasmany Tomas is a little further away from returning from his groin injury. But even when he is back, let’s be honest. Tomas simply has not been the guy the team thought when they signed him a few years back. He has been decent, but certainly someone who can be replaced.
Offensively, let’s take a look at where the DBacks fall. In terms of batting average, they find themselves 10th in MLB. Home runs sees them a little further down the board at 13th. They are ahead of the game in runs scored at 6th. All said and done, they are certainly holding their own. But they could still use a jolt, especially considering the dogfight they could find themselves in given how competitive the division has been.
That is where the Detroit Tigers come into play. More specifically, outfielder J.D. Martinez.
The Tigers find themselves in fourth in the AL Central, with about eight teams ahead of them if they want to grab a Wild Card spot. Give it another week or two, and the club will likely go into full-on sell mode. Martinez will certainly be one of the top names on their list to deal, as he is in the final year of his contract.
Arizona is certainly in the win-now mode, meaning a rental player certainly could be in play for them. It will also help bring the price down in their talks with Detroit.
So what exactly would the Detroit Tigers ask in return for J.D.? For starters, the team has had issues at the back end of their pen for the longest time. A guy who could step in and close at any given moment would certianly be on their radar. As a result, they would certainly ask for someone like Archie Bradley.
Bradley is an electric arm, who has find a nice home out in the bullpen. He is currently pitching to a 1.10 ERA, 0.86 WHIP while recording 41 strikeouts in under 33 innings. He is under contract until 2022, making him an extremely enticing name for Detroit. Now, if I am Arizona, I would be pushing other names, given I would want to hold Bradley for when the Fernando Rodney implosion happens.
Chris Owings, who is hitting .293 on the season with eight homers, has shown the ability to play centerfield, which is a position the Tigers could certainly use an upgrade at, is another potential name to watch. Given he is currently a member of their starting lineup, Arizona may hesitate on moving him though.
However, it is not entirely out of the question. The team could easily slide Nick Ahmed back into the shortstop role full. He has gotten a handful of playing time recently when the team plays Owings in the outfield in place of Descalso or Blanco. So essentially, they would be swapping out Owings bat for J.D.’s. Add in a lower prospect and that could certainly work for both clubs.
Of course, if Arizona simply did not want to touch their current big league roster, swapping just prospects for a rental player would make perfect sense as well. A name like Marcus Wilson, an outfielder down in single-A (Kane City Cougars), could find his way into trade talks. Wilson is hitting over .300 with eight homers in just over 50 games for Kane City to this point.
Arizona is in the thick of things right now. But I still feel they are at least one piece away from being able to stick in the middle of things. In 145 at-bats this season, Martinez is sporting a .301 average, has 12 long balls and has driven in 27 runs. He would certainly help bolster the lineup that already features Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Drury.
So what do you think? Should the Arizona Diamondbacks call the Detroit Tigers about J.D. Martinez? If so, what should they give up? Is there another name they should target? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!