Tigers and Giants talk about Martinez
The Tigers have engaged in talks with the Giants about sending outfielder J.D. Martinez to San Francisco. The conversation is still in the early stages, the product of discussions at last week’s GM meetings, per Jon Morosi of MLB Network. Whether it’s to the Giants or elsewhere, Martinez’s contract status makes him a prime candidate for being dealt soon: entering the back half of a two-year extension signed last winter, with general manager Al Avila telling reporters last month that a long-term contract past that would be unlikely.
Though Martinez struggled with his defense last year, his performance at the plate was fairly consistent with what he’s done since his breakout season in 2014. His TAv topped .300 for the third straight year, with 22 home runs. For the Giants, it’s a move that would make sense, with the likely departures of Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco leaving holes to fill in the outfield.
Of course, Martinez isn’t the only player the Tigers are reportedly looking to deal, as the team tries to shift their expensive and veteran-heavy roster into something geared more toward the future. Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Ian Kinsler have also all surfaced in rumors as players who might be moved.
Braves want Sale … or someone
After reportedly entertaining offers for Chris Sale at the trade deadline, the White Sox are back at the table to talk about their ace. The Dodgers and Nationals have both been mentioned as possibilities in recent days, and now a team with a bit more rebuilding ahead of itself supposedly wants in: the Braves, as first reported by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Starting pitching is certainly a need for Atlanta, after posting a collective DRA of 5.01 last year (the third-worst in baseball).
But while pitching is weak, the farm system is strong, as detailed by BP’s prospect team last week. The Braves, then, have no shortage of pieces to put together a trade package if the interest is for real. For his part, Sale put up another year of near-awe-inspiring numbers including a 2.69 DRA, while also expressing his frustration with the White Sox’s management situation and indicating a desire to be traded.
Sale isn’t the only starting pitcher the Braves have been linked to. Sonny Gray and Chris Archer have also popped up as possible interests of theirs this week, meaning that the Braves have been tied to just about every big rotation name that’s been significantly discussed as a trade piece.
Astros looking to make moves, and soon
Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told reporters yesterday that he thinks the team will be “a little bit more aggressive than we have in years past” and hopes to make a deal or two before the Winter Meetings in the first week of December. He was coy on what those might be—“some pitching help, a bat or two in the lineup … an opening at catcher as well” just about covers all the possible bases here—but the rotation and the aforementioned hole at catcher are two safe bets.
Injuries and regression made for rough years for Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers and Mike Fiers alike, meaning starting pitching depth is a likely target for the team. And with Jason Castro testing the free agent market, the Astros will either need to rely on Evan Gattis to catch full time or find a replacement stronger than current backup option Max Stassi.