On Tuesday, July 18th at about 3:40 pm MST the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired J.D. Martinez from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King. The Diamondbacks will take on the nearly $5 million remaining on Martinez’s contract.
My initial reaction is of joy to be sure, especially seeing that we did not need to give up Socrates Brito nor Anthony Banda in the trade. While losing Lugo is certainly a blow to the upper levels of the system, I would certainly not consider this to be a crippling blow, or an overpay by any stretch of the imagination. My early inclination is to say the Diamondbacks win this trade despite Martinez being a rental, though this could certainly change, as is the case whenever young prospects are involved.
J.D. Martinez’s abilities are certainly not a secret, as he will bring prodigious power to the middle of an already potent Diamondbacks lineup featuring two of the top RBI- getters in the National League in Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb, as well as strong pieces in A.J. Pollock, David Peralta, and Chris Owings. Another positive that Martinez will bring to the lineup is strength against left handed pitching, which had been a thorn in the D-backs side all season, especially with the injuries to Yasmany Tomás and Nick Ahmed. In 642 career at-bats, Martinez is hitting .293 against lefties, with 38 HRs. This addition will surely shore up the lefty-issue.
Of the three prospects the Diamondbacks are giving up, Dawel Lugo is the headliner, as he is the Number 4 prospect in the Diamondbacks system according to their Top 30 Prospect Watch. Lugo was acquired in the 2015 Cliff Pennington trade, and is projected as somewhere between a solid super utility man, and an everyday Third Baseman, which means he was expendable for the Diamondbacks thanks to Jake Lamb at the hot corner. Sergio Alcantara was the next prospect, the No. 15 in the system. Sergio is quite the slick fielder, however questions remain as to how he would fare against Major League pitching. The last player, Jose King, is currently in the AZL. The 18 year- old shortstop appears to be a throw in piece, as there are not many projections for him in the majors, and he is outside of the D-backs top 30 prospects.
Overall, this trade seems to really be a benefit to the Arizona Diamondbacks, as they address a concern they had with the lineup, and they look poised to continue their path to October.