The Arizona Diamondbacks got a lot better on Tuesday, as they acquired slugger J.D. Martinez from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for three prospects. The move showed that the D’Backs are for real this year and think they can make a run deep in the postseason.
In just 57 games this season, Martinez is hitting .305, with 16 home runs, 39 RBI and a 1.018 OPS. Against lefties this year, Martinez is hitting a ridiculous .474, with six homers, 11 RBI and an absurd OPS of 1.661. Over the past four seasons, Martinez and Mike Trout are the only players in Major League Baseball with a .300 batting average and a .550 slugging percentage. That’s some pretty great company to be in.
The Diamondbacks are currently 53-39 and sit 10.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West. While that lead looks insurmountable, Arizona currently holds the top Wild Card spot in the NL. The D’Backs are a half-game ahead of the Colorado Rockies in that spot, and the Rockies are 5.5 games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the second Wild Card position.
As a team, Arizona is currently 10th in baseball in batting average (.258), eighth in runs scored (455), 10th in OPS (.765) and 14th in home runs (114). Martinez should give them a bump in each category. Meanwhile, his addition to the lineup will help stabilize things and add protection for Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, A.J. Pollock and Chris Owings.
The Tigers had to know they wouldn’t get equal value in return for Martinez because he’s two-and-a-half month rental, will hit free agency after the season. That said, it doesn’t look like they got a great return for him.
Detroit will receive third baseman Dawel Lugo and shortstops Sergio Alcantara and Jose King. MLB.com ranks Lugo as the fourth-best prospect in Arizona’s system, while Alcantara is 15th and King didn’t make the top 30. None of the three rate as top 100 prospects in baseball.
The Tigers appear to be motivated sellers at the deadline and this is likely to be one of several moves over the next two weeks. But this deal didn’t bring back a ton of value.
As for the Diamondbacks, they’re clearly going for it this year. They know Martinez is a rental and they went after him hard. With Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray having fantastic seasons, adding a bat and another starting pitcher were their priorities. One of those has now been accomplished.