With some combination of J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton, Cameron Maybin and Steven Moya set to patrol the Tigers outfield for this season and at least next year, the team could opt for a rental. An outfielder could come in and receive some playing time while transitioning to a pinch-hitting role when Martinez returns. The new addition would also bring value as a potential pinch-hitter in postseason play.
That new addition could be Jon Jay.
After struggling with the Cardinals in 2015, Jay has rediscovered the form that made him such an integral part of the St. Louis organization from 2010 to 2014. During those years, the outfielder hit .295 while averaging 43 RBI, 22 doubles, nine stolen bases, six home runs and three triples per season.
Coming off a 2015 season that saw him hit a meager .210, Jay has been an excellent addition for the padres. So far, the 31-year-old has hit .292 with 22 RBI and a league-leading 22 doubles through 65 games. Half of those doubles have come at Petco Park, so it’s possible some of those could have been home runs in other parks. In other words, there is more power in the outfielder’s bat than his two home runs this season would suggest.
The Florida native is a free agent at the end of the season and would only be a rental, but he’d be a good rental at that. A combination of Jay and Moya may just make up for Martinez from an offensive production standpoint.
Was it mentioned that Jay plays center field, perhaps the position where the Tigers need depth the most? Yes, yes he does play center field. The former Cardinal also has significant experience playing both left and right field as well. He’d be an ideal fit in Detroit. A pitcher like Kevin Ziomek or Austin Kubitza could work for both teams.