USA Today’s Nightengale: D-backs ‘in the lead’ for Tigers OF J.D. Martinez
Baseball analysts see a fit for the Diamondbacks to trade for Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale is among them. In his piece of likely destinations for stars on the trading block, he foresees Martinez landing with the D-backs for the relatively low cost of outfielder prospect Socrates Brito and pitching prospect Curtis Taylor.
Joining the Doug and Wolf show Tuesday on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station, Nightengale said that prediction wasn’t just a shot in the dark.
According to what he’s heard, the Diamondbacks could pull such a trade off at that relatively low cost because of Martinez’s impending free agency after 2017.
“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,” Nightengale said. “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.”
Brito, who has 58 games of MLB experience but hasn’t played for the D-backs this year, has spent 40 games with Triple-A Reno and is slashing .312/.367/.468 with 44 hits and 20 RBI.
The 21-year-old Taylor, meanwhile, has a 3.32 ERA and 3-4 record in 13 starts with Single-A Kane County.
Nightengale thinks their combined value could be enough for the Tigers, who want to unload Martinez, the 29-year-old outfielder batting .305 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI this season.
The D-backs, currently in a 3-11 slump, could use another outfield bat with Yasmany Tomas still on the disabled list with a groin injury.
“It’d be a great trade. Especially, it’d show the players the front office believes in us,” Nightengale said.
Also helping Arizona perhaps lock down such a deal: as the July 31 trade deadline nears, there isn’t as much competition for position players compared to the demand for pitching, Nightengale added.
The D-backs are being active in looking at all of their options, including pitchers. Nightengale said Arizona will be at Oakland Athletics pitcher Sonny Gray’s next start, for example.
Whether they have enough to land a pitcher like Gray, however, looks unlikely.
“They plan to scout (Gray) and I don’t think they have enough to get him, but I think they want to certainly be in on the action when he’s up on the trade block,” Nightengale said. “He’d be an ideal fit (with the D-backs) — I just don’t know if they have enough.”
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