D-backs’ trade for J.D. Martinez about winning the moment
PHOENIX — Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen is taking a word of advice from manager Torey Lovullo, who has preached “winning the moment” throughout his first year on the job.
Arizona does need to start creating a cache in its farm system instead of cashing assets in. But Hazen knows there’s no ignoring the successful first half of 2017, be it lightning in a bottle or not.
Trading three infield prospects to the Detroit Tigers for soon-to-be free agent J.D. Martinez on Tuesday marked a commitment to winning this season, even if it eats into depth within the D-backs’ farm system.
The trade wasn’t a panic move considering the 3-11 streak heading into Tuesday, Hazen said after the deal. Nor was it completely about Martinez improving the team’s .223 average against left-handed pitchers, the second-worst mark in MLB.
It was about making a move to add depth with injuries to outfielder Yasmany Tomas and shortstop Nick Ahmed lingering.
What if they were still stuck on the disabled list well after the July 31 trade deadline?
“We couldn’t take that chance,” Hazen said in a conference call. “Once you get beyond the next two weeks, you sort of run out of options.
“We’re focused on the remainder of this season right now. We felt that it was a price that we were able to do right now.”
And of whether Arizona will look to re-sign Martinez, who is a free agent heading into 2018?
“We’ll deal with that then,” Hazen said.
That might have said it all.
The general manager added that the move was “reflective” of how the D-backs had started the season, indicating trade talks with Detroit had been in the works for over a week but, more generally, the type of move they’d thought about making for some time.
Martinez is slashing .305, and in 57 games played this year, the 2015 All-Star has 39 RBI and 16 home runs.
His slugging percentage (.630) and OPS (1.018) rank first among his new Diamondbacks teammates.
“Given how the season’s gone to date, he has performed on many different levels … (been in the) postseason with good teams in Detroit and, you know, we felt like his presence in the lineup — certainly the ability to hit both sides, the ability to be a corner outfielder — we felt like it was a good fit for us where we currently stand.”
In exchange for Martinez, infielder prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King were shipped to the Tigers. All are from the Double-A level or lower, and all have yet to see their 23rd birthdays.
“We felt like we gave up a few good players here in this deal,” Hazen said. “We felt like from the area of our farm system we were trading from, we had a decent amount of depth in those areas.
“We felt like we had some protection there. I think we gave up quality players, but we got a quality player in return.”