The Detroit Tigers made a major trade on Tuesday by sending star right fielder J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for minor league prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King.
I certainly didn’t see Arizona making a big deal like this at the trade deadline, but it certainly shows that the team is doing whatever necessary to try and make a deep playoff run this season. J.D. Martinez gives the Diamondbacks yet another dangerous bat to put in the middle of their lineup and he will help out in an outfield that has a glaring need in left field with Yasmany Tomas on the disabled list. The issue that I have for the Diamondbacks with this trade is that Martinez is essentially just a rental for the rest of the season and it is unlikely that the team would be able to retain him in free agency after the season. Martinez makes the Diamondbacks lineup one of the best in baseball and it probably makes the team better a little bit. However, this trade only guarantees them a wild card spot because they probably won’t close the gap on the Dodgers in the division anytime soon. Arizona already had tons of right-handed hitters in their lineup and they would have been better off trying to trade for a quality left-handed batter for more balance. The Diamondbacks still need bullpen help the most if they want to make it anywhere in the playoffs and that is where their focus should be at the trade deadline. This trade will be great if Martinez re-signs with the Diamondbacks in free agency, but that is relatively unlikely to happen. That is why I can’t give Arizona a great grade since they are giving up 3 quality young prospects in exchange for a player that they might only have for a total of 3 months.
This trade signals that Detroit is ready to move on from their aging star players and start to build a team that will be younger and more competitive in a few years. J.D. Martinez has been the Tigers best hitter this season, but the Tigers still aren’t a competitive team even with him on their roster as they sit at 42-49 on the season. Obviously, Detroit isn’t going to be a playoff team this season which is why it made tons of sense to trade away Martinez now rather than lose him for nothing at the end of the season. Detroit had one of the worst farm systems in the MLB before this trade and this trade won’t improve their farm system much. However, this trade at least gives the Tigers some quality young prospects to work with and it is a good start to trying to build a more competitive team. The prize of this deal for the Tigers is 3rd baseman Dawel Lugo who was the 2nd best prospect in Arizona’s minor league system according to Baseball America. Lugo doesn’t hit for much power, but he still is a tremendous offensive player because he hits for average and he doesn’t strike out much. The Tigers also received shortstop Sergio Alcantara who was the 15th best prospect in Arizona’s farm system according to MLB.com. Alcantara is ranked that high of a prospect mostly because of his outstanding defensive abilities as he is a good fielder and he has a strong arm as well. Alcantara doesn’t do much offensively as he only has 6 career home runs in 374 career minor league games. However, if he can continue to develop a respectable offensive capability then he projects well as a bench player at the MLB level, although he will mostly be used as a defensive replacement late in games. Finally, the Tigers acquired 18-year old shortstop prospect Jose King in the trade. King only has 13 games of experience in the minor leagues, so it is a complete unknown as to how he will turn out. However, he has shown an ability to steal bases and he hit for a good average while playing in the Dominican Republic. There aren’t really high expectations for King with the Tigers, but he is still young and it is worth it to see if the team can develop him. Detroit could have gotten better prospects if they had decided to trade Martinez maybe a year ago. However, this trade shows that the team is finally heading in the right direction and they are starting to rebuild a farm system that has not been good in recent years.