The Detroit Tigers want to become younger and more cost-efficient in the next few years. One way of doing so is trading J.D. Martinez, who the San Francisco Giants are very interested in.
Reports are suggesting the two teams have began talking about a deal involving the 29-year old outfielder, who spent most of last season playing in right field except for one right field stint. Martinez has one more year on his deal worth $11.75 million, which means the Tigers aren’t in that big of a hurry to dump him, but they’ve already declared they won’t offer an extension to him, so dealing him in exchange for some valuable prospects and a younger future makes sense.
It also makes sense for the Giants to try and land him. They need power out of the outfield and Martinez, a silver slugger award winner in 2015, will certainly provide them with it. His overall production fell off in 2016 compared to 2015 because he missed 38 games (played 120 compared to 158), but he managed to hit 22 home runs while improving his slash numbers, batting .307 and posting a .908 OPS, including a .535 slugging.
The Giants aren’t promising a long term deal either, maybe just one more year of an extension if they do land Martinez. They’re not a low-spending franchise, but they have a number of long term deals clogging their payroll, and at some point Madison Bumgarner is going to get his second extension, which limits the Giants ability to lock up Martinez long term. The confusion over the current CBA talks is also adding to the lack of urgency some teams have in adding dollars to their payroll.
Martinez has been one of the best hitters in the American League over the last three years, hitting 83 home runs while batting .299 with .540 slugging and .898 OPS. If the Giants do manage to add him, it might weaken the Tigers position when it comes to competing in the AL Central, but it helps them along in their plan to slowly move towards youth and less spent money, while the Giants fill in a need that cost them dearly last season.