A big trade just went down between the Tigers and the Diamondbacks, with the latter acquiring mashing outfielder JD Martinez for prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King. The first two are top 15 system prospects according to MLB Pipeline, while King is an 18-year-old in rookie ball. In short: I know nothing of these prospects.
I do know some things about Martinez, though, and he improves the Diamondbacks lineup in a big way.
It’s almost hard to imagine how good Martinez has been since coming to the Tigers after the Astros dumped him for nothing. In his four seasons, he’s posted wRC+ figures that range from a low of 137 to a high of 162 this year. The guy freaking rakes.
The Diamondbacks are 10.5 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West, so the trade is really more about solidifying the D-Backs’ Wild Card standing, where they hold a 0.5 game advantage on the Rockies for the top Wild Card spot, and a 6.0 game lead on the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot – yes, the Cubs are currently the “next” team in the Wild Card standings! It’s just that it’s still less likely the Cubs capture a Wild Card spot than a divisional spot, being that they are 3.5 back of the Brewers, and 5.5 back of the Rockies.
A Martinez trade is also interesting at a broader level, because it uncouples him from the possibility of receiving a qualifying offer in the offseason, and thus making him all the more attractive as a free agent. I doubt the Cubs will be going after a big money corner outfielder any time soon, so him becoming more attractive (and thus sucking up more free agent dollars from a possible Cubs competitor for a different free agent) is like … a 1% win for the Cubs. Huzzah!
In summary: TRADES!!!