As they are wont to do in July, trade rumors are flying fast and furious as we move closer to the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of the month. The Detroit Tigers have been mentioned several times, as they have a few interesting trade pieces they will be looking to move in the next couple weeks. Chief among them is outfielder J.D. Martinez, considered the top trade deadline target in all of baseball by MLB Trade Rumors.
Interest in Martinez has been slow thus far, but seems to be picking up steam. The Arizona Diamondbacks are one team poking around, though talks are not serious yet according to Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi. The D’Backs have been one of the surprises of the season thus far, with a 53-37 record through their first 90 games. They are firmly in playoff position at the moment, sitting 8 1⁄2 games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the Wild Card standings. Arizona has the misfortune of playing in the same division as the Los Angeles Dodgers, though, and are 8 1⁄2 games behind in the AL West race.
Martinez would be a huge addition for Arizona, who has largely relied on its pitching staff this season. Their offense, normally one of the better units in baseball, has only managed a 94 wRC+ this season. Right fielder David Peralta has performed well, with an .830 OPS in 78 games. However, left fielder Yasmany Tomas has not; he has a .294 on-base percentage this season and is currently on the disabled list with a groin injury. Given his defensive shortcomings, Tomas has been below replacement level in 47 games played this season.
Outside of utility player Chris Owings, who has split time between the outfield and second base, the Diamondbacks don’t have much (if any) offensive punch on their bench. Jeremy Hazelbaker has performed well in a small sample of plate appearances, but would not provide the consistency an established veteran like Martinez could. All-Stars Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb would certainly appreciate the added depth Martinez would provide to the middle of the Diamondbacks lineup.
Those hoping for a huge return in a potential deal might be disappointed, though. Arizona has one of the worst farm systems in baseball, ranking 28th on Baseball America’s preseason organizational rankings. This is largely thanks to former general manager Dave Stewart, who made several disastrous trades — including the infamous Dansby Swanson deal — that decimated a farm system ranked among the five or six best in baseball just a couple years ago. Now, their prospects include lefthander Anthony Banda, a potential mid-rotation starter, and former Tigers farmhand Domingo Leyba.