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MLB trade rumors: Is the Arizona Diamondbacks’ interest in J.D. Martinez strengthening?

The strongest rumor of this trade-deadline period to date has the team in the lead for the Tigers’ outfielder.

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MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There have been rumblings for a while, suggesting J.D. Martinez would be a good fit for the Diamondbacks. Heck, last week, I even said: “Perhaps the most likely possibility is picking up a player in their walk year on a non-contending team, to be a two-month rental here down the stretch. They generally would not cost too much more than salary. I’m thinking perhaps someone like outfielder J.D. Martinez.” While I’m certainly not suggesting the Arizona front-office read it and thought, “Yeah, let’s get on that,” it does appear their process led them to a similar conclusion. Two days later, Jon Morosi Tweeted:

and things do not appear to have cooled off since.

He would fit an area of need for the team, slotting into left-field, a spot which has been problematic in one way or another, almost all year. In terms of overall production, LF has been worth 1.8 bWAR below average in the National League, ahead only of the Braves and Giants, The D-backs are also ranked 13th by pure OPS from left-field, hitting a collective .234/.299/.399, for a .698 OPS. Yasmany Tomas (42), Daniel Descalso (28) and Chris Herrmann (14) have seen the bulk of the starts there, but Tomas is now on the shelf indefinitely, with his groin refusing to get better.

Martinez has been exclusively a RF/DH for the Tigers since 2014, but if the team wanted to keep him in right, we could move David Peralta back to left. The Tiger has certainly been smacking the cover off the ball this year, with an OPS above a thousand (.305/.388/.630). But this isn’t just a one-year spike. Since the beginning of 2014, he’s hitting .300 with a .912 OPS, and the 29-year-old looks set for a very solid pay-day when he hits free-agency this winter. Which is perhaps why the D-backs are interested, since he would give them a good boost down the stretch, while his cost being that of just a three-month rental.

What might that price be? It’s good to have a neutral perspective on such things. And today, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports threw his hat into the ring, saying that the Dodgers and Red Sox are also interested in the outfielder. But he predicts that the Diamondbacks will come out on top, getting Martinez in exchange for outfield prospect Socrates Brito and pitching prospect Curtis Taylor (and, presumably, taking on the remained of Martinez’s salary, which would be around $5 million at this point).

Brito made a good first impression, hitting .303 during his 2015 debut campaign, but struggled in 2016, with only a .554 OPS, and has not yet seen any action this season in the majors. He’s batting .312/.367/.468 for the Aces in Triple-A, but we know how Reno tends to inflate hitters’ numbers significantly. Taylor was our fourth-round pick last year, and is currently pitching for the Kane County Cougars in A-ball: he has a 3.32 ERA there, with a 68:23 K:BB ratio over 62.1 innings. He was ranked #12 on our prospect list by preseason, but outside the top 20 on Minor League Ball.

Nightengale confirmed his belief speaking to Arizona Sports earlier today, saying: “I talk to people throughout the industry about predictions, including people from the Tigers, and they say right now the D-backs are in the lead for Martinez. It makes perfect sense — you talk about the Rockies and Dodgers — but they say, ‘No, the Diamondbacks have been very, very aggressive. They got prospects. And they won’t give a ton because it’d only be a rental.”

So, do we make that trade, SnakePitters?


Would you trade Socrates Brito and Curtis Taylor for J.D. Martinez

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