J.D. Martinez is now taking his powerful swing to the Arizona Diamondbacks, and at a great cost to the Detroit Tigers. Rather than a bevy of MLB-ready talent and top prospects, the Tigers acquired a trio of infielders, none of whom are ready to be called up to the big league roster.
That's not exactly a great haul for someone who batted .300 with 99 home runs and 285 RBI in a Tigers uniform, and the fact that Martinez is set to hit free agency this winter makes the deal all the more puzzling.
Long story short, what was Detroit GM Al Avila thinking??
The trade return
The Tigers got three infielders from the Diamondbacks in the Martinez trade: Dawel Lugo, Jose King, and Sergio Alcantara. Lugo is the star of the package, as he was ranked Arizona's No. 4 prospect at the start of the season. The 22-year-old spent all of 2017 at Double-A Jackson and hit .282 with seven home runs and 43 RBI, and also developed a knack for getting extra base hits.
Alcantara just turned 21 and put up similar numbers at High-A Visalia, while King is a mere 18 years old and appeared in 13 games in Rookie ball this year.
It's clear that Lugo is the star of the deal, and he has gone from projecting as a utility player to a regular this season. The question, however, is where will he play? He has spent time at shortstop and third base this season, and both Jose Iglesias and Nick Castellanos have those positions locked down and are still under team control for a bit.
Maybe the plan is for Lugo to report to the minors and start taking reps at second base, especially with Ian Kinsler on the decline and unlikely to be back next year.
Either way, one thing is certain. The Tigers may have received three prospects, of which one has a fairly high ceiling, but one can't help but wonder why they didn't demand more for such a talent in Martinez.
Martinez is worth much more
J.D. Martinez certainly had his injury issues while in a Tigers uniform, namely missing the first six weeks of the season with a foot injury, and he also missed time with an elbow fracture last year.
That still does not take away from how strong an offensive presence he was in Detroit's lineup. Yes, he's a rental player and the Diamondbacks didn't want to overpay for him, but the Tigers need to restock their minor league system like there's no tomorrow. What kept Avila from demanding someone like Anthony Banda, or even Socrates Brito?
The long and short of it is that with a home run threat like Martinez, the Tigers should have demanded a more substantial package as opposed to three minor league infielders whose collective ceiling is, at best, above average.
No disrespect to Avila, but he dropped the ball on this trade.