Could The Mariners Work A Trade For JD Martinez Of The Tigers?


Sometimes trade speculation gets out of hand. It’s hard as an excitable and dedicated baseball fan to muse and dream about who could play for your team in 2015.

Mariners fans, myself included, have been guilty of such thinking for much of the offseason. Sure, Ryan Braun would look nice in right field, or left, if he really is healthy. I was guilty of it when I proposed the Mariners trade for Bryce Harper, as the pieces alone would be beyond absurd.

One of our loyal readers proposed a trade to us at Sodo Mojo the other day: Brad Miller and a Player To Be Named Later (PTBNL) for outfielder J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers.

Martinez, 27, had a coming out party of sorts in 2014 with the Detroit Tigers. In 123 games he hit .315/.358/.553 with 23 home runs and 76 RBI. But those were all career numbers, in the 3 prior seasons, he had a .274 batting average in only 53 games with the Houston Astros.

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His defensive WAR is nothing to write about, either. But still, for the sake of argument: why would the Tigers want to trade away J.D. Martinez?

In short, they wouldn’t.

Martinez is under contract through 2017, and if 2014 was indicative of his development and not a flash in the pan, he will be a consistent contributing member of the Detroit Tigers offense for the next three seasons, amongst hitting greats Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

He’s young-ish (only 27), and his next two seasons are likely the tail end of his baseball prime. So why would the Tigers trade him to the Mariners?

If the Tigers did indeed get Brad Miller in a deal, they could have their shortstop of the future– in theory. Jose Iglesias, though, who started 144 games for the Tigers in 2014, played better than Brad Miller did. Yes, Miller’s slugging percentage is higher than Iglesias’ with a batting average that’s 50 points lower, but why sacrifice a Major League starter in J.D. Martinez for a short stop who wouldn’t even be your starter?

Another, even more difficult trade to pull off, was proposed to us via Twitter:

Now that would be an intriguing three-way trade, and it involves the Mariners keeping Walker, Paxton and Peterson – the three prospects fans value keeping the most. The price the Mariners pay in this may seem too high, especially with cash being sent to Tampa, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Regardless, I’ve personally never understood trading away a starter at one position to get a starter at another. The Tigers did that at the trade deadline in 2014 when they sent Austin Jackson to the Mariners to get David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays in a 3-team trade.

They didn’t win the World Series in 2014, even with the three reigning Cy Young award winners in their rotation.

If you want to the Mariners to find themselves a good right fielder to start on Opening Day in 2015, you’re not alone. But there are some trades that are just too implausible to hope for. Like trading for J.D. Martinez when his stock is the highest its ever been.

But don’t forget, Mariners fans, Justin Upton is still in Atlanta and still an option via trade. And maybe with all the other outfielders getting signed and traded without any trades for Justin Upton coming to fruition, the Mariners can get a deal done that doesn’t include Taijuan Walker.

Or at the very least we can hope.