In need of some right-handed pop in the order, the New York Yankees could target a 29-year old outfielder who is likely to be dealt.
With the Detroit Tigers in absolutely no position to spend major cash, J.D. Martinez is not expected to be re-signed when his contract terminates and finds himself as the presumable trade chip this offseason.
Martinez, an all-star in 2015, is on track to hit free agency after the 2017 season and is due $11.75 million. Could the New York Yankees be interested?
Last season, coming off a year in which slammed 38 home runs and drive in 102 RBI’s, the 29-year old slashed .307/.373/.535 with an OPS of .908. He also hit 22 home runs in 120 games, a 29 homer pace.
In 10 career games at Yankee Stadium, Martinez is 13-for-39 (.333) and in a three-game set from June 19-21 in the Bronx in 2015, he cranked three home runs and drove in seven RBI’s while batting .462.
Sure, starting pitching may be general manager Brian Cashman’s focus for this upcoming offseason, but his offense is also coming off a strengthless year.
The unit, devastated by the ineffectiveness of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, finished 22nd in runs scored, 19th in home runs, 24th in OPS, 20th in overall batting average, and second-to-last in batting average with runners in scoring position.
In addition to that, their outfield production was just as rotten.
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They hit just 50 home runs and maintained an OPS of .704, both 26th in MLB, along with an Isolated Power rating (ISO) of .126 which was third-to-last in all of baseball.
At first glance, one could expect Cashman would start off negotiations by attempting to get Detroit’s GM, Al Avila, to eat some of the $11.75 million that Martinez is owed. The way he’s striving to construct the 2017 team, he’ll venture to keep the organization’s payroll beneath the $189 million threshold.
Additionally, it’s highly improbable that Martinez is even thought of as an option unless their current left fielder, Brett Gardner, is dealt. Sure, he is proven to be one of the most valuable yet underrated members of the Yankees since 1990, but J.D. Martinez can provide much more benefit to the team’s contemporary offensive woes.
And with Clint Frazier knocking on the door in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with the probability of him manning left field in the Bronx by 2018, Martinez’s one-year commitment could provide a smoother transition to a 22-year old ready to make his mark.
The return could also get interesting for Cashman, as he’ll likely have to part with a couple of stellar pitching prospects or more in order to convince Avila to accept a deal while also eating money. Some that may draw interest from Detroit are Justus Sheffield, Domingo Acevedo, and James Kaprielian but in all likelihood, Kaprielian would be off the table.
What the Tigers would be interested in, more than anything, would be close to major league ready hurlers that have shown some promise with flashes of brilliance. After all, that’s how they wheeled in Michael Fulmer in the deal that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets.
All aspects considered, it’ll likely take more than two prospects to bring Martinez in. Especially if Cashman wants money to be eaten by Detroit. And again, selling prospects that he worked so hard to obtain becomes incredibly risky, especially for a one-year rental. A lot has to happen for the silver slugger to be dropping bombs in New York.
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Christian Kouroupakis covers the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball for ESNY. Interact with him and view his daily work by “liking” his facebook page and follow him on Twitter. All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference.com unless otherwise noted. Don’t hesitate to shoot him an email with any questions, criticisms, or concerns.