Just before the winter meetings commence, the Phillies and Tigers have reportedly discussed a trade for Detroit’s 29-year old outfielder.
Even after trading for Howie Kendrick, the Phillies have not concluded their search for an outfield bat. This is no surprise as their lineup doesn’t pack much punch outside of Odubel Herrera, Tommy Joseph, and potentially Maikel Franco if he bounces back.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports has reported that the Phillies have spoken with the Tigers about 29-year outfielder J.D. Martinez. However, Morosi did note that talks between the teams have stalled. They may pick up again when the winter meetings commence this Sunday.
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Martinez is coming off a stellar offensive season as he hit 22 home runs, drove in 68 runs, and posted a .307/.373/.535 line in 120 games. This was off the heels of a 2015 season where Martinez hit 38 home runs as he earned All-Star honors and the Silver Slugger.
The biggest gripe against Martinez may be his defense. While he had a positive 8.0 UZR/150 in 2015, his defense fell off considerably in 2016 with a -21.5 UZR/150.
Martinez’s contract fits well with what the club is looking for. He will earn $11.8 million in the second season of a two-year deal. If Martinez performs well in 2017, the Phils may offer him an extension. If he struggles or the front office feels confident in one of the numerous outfield prospects in the system, they can just let him walk.
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Even if he has just one year left on his contract, Martinez won’t come without Philadelphia giving up something in return. Our own Tyler King proposed a hypothetical trade where Philadelphia would receive Martinez and a player to be named later for catcher Cameron Rupp and pitching prospect Ricardo Pinto. CSN Philly’s Corey Seidman said they might have to give up someone like Herrera or Vincent Velasquez in a deal. The fact that Detroit wouldn’t have to pay Martinez’s salary next year could carry a lot of weight, which may save the Phillies from giving up as talented of players.
If Martinez did join the Phillies, he would likely man right field as Aaron Altherr would become the fourth outfielder and Roman Quinn would start the year in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. If he performs as well as he did in 2016 or perhaps even return to his 2015 numbers, one team or another will pursue a trade for Martinez before the deadline. This could bode well for the Phils as they could net additional young talent in exchange for “renting out” Martinez.
As I always mention when trade rumors come up, they can only be taken so far. However, December is the time for winter meetings and Christmas, so rumors will be plentiful at this time. If anything else comes up, we’ll be sure to let you know here at TBOH.