Detroit Tigers: Three Hypothetical Victor Martinez Trades
Detroit Tigers Acquire: Huston Street, Jefry Marte and shortstop prospect Nonie Williams
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Acquire: Victor Martinez
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim probably should rebuild.
Anaheim’s farm system isn’t exactly the gold standard of the league in terms of prospect pipelines. What’s more, the team has aging veterans like Albert Pujols, Ricky Nolasco and Street eating up significant chunks of payroll on a yearly basis.
However, the Halos aren’t going the rebuilding phase. With players like Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons to build around, the team is acting like a would-be contender this offseason.
The team dealt Victor Alcantara, possibly the organization’s best pitching prospect in terms of upside, to Detroit for a year of Cameron Maybin. Anaheim also signed Jesse Chavez to a one-year deal to help fill out the rotation.
Adding Martinez would serve as an offensive upgrade to C.J. Cron, while giving the Halos an offensive nucleus containing Trout, Maybin, Pujols, Martinez, Kole Calhoun and Yunel Escobar.
The group may not win a title, but it will surely help the club rebound from a disastrous 2016 campaign which ended with Anaheim owning a 74-88 record.
Martinez may not be a significant upgrade over Cron based on last year’s production, but he’s an upgrade all the same.
Anaheim has made similar deals in the past. The team sent Erick Aybar, then just one season removed from an All-Star campaign, to Atlanta along with two top pitching prospects for Simmons.
Detroit’s Side of the Deal
In return for Martinez, Detroit would receive three pieces.
The most significant, both in terms of career numbers and name value, is Huston Street. The two-time All Star and former Rookie of the Year is coming off the worst season of his career.
In just 22.1 innings, the 33-year-old was tagged for 31 hits, 16 runs, 12 walks and five home runs. That translates to a 6.45 ERA, a 6.41 FIP and a 1.925 WHIP.
However, a change of scenery could help the closer find his form again. In the 11 seasons prior, Street pitched to a 2.85 ERA and a 3.23 FIP while striking out 8.9 batters per nine frames over 653.2 innings.
That same span included 315 saves. If the veteran can pitch effectively once again, Detroit could come away with a late-inning reliever.
It probably doesn’t hurt that he owns a 2.70 career ERA at Comerica Park either.
What’s perhaps most appealing about acquiring Street is that he’ll save Detroit some serious money.
According to Spotrac, Martinez is slated to make $36 million over the next two seasons
Meanwhile, Street’s contract (per Baseball Prospectus) calls for a $9 million base salary next season with a $10 million option for 2018. Assuming Detroit pays, the buyout, the Tigers would save $26 million while adding a potential closer.
However, it wouldn’t just be Street who Detroit would acquire.
Marte and Williams
Tigers fans know plenty about Marte, the corner infielder who saw action in 33 games for Detroit during the 2015 season.
After moving to the Angels via trade last offseason, Marte quietly turned in a solid campaign in his new surroundings.
The infielder, who has now added corner outfielder to his resume, recorded 44 RBI, 15 home runs and 14 doubles in 88 games. He also registered a .229 ISO that was second only to Trout on Anaheim’s roster.
Controllable through 2021, Marte is an interesting bench piece for the long term thanks to his pop and versatility.
Rounding out the deal is Williams, a shortstop prospect taken in the third round of the 2016 draft. The 18-year-old has significant offensive upside, with what MLB.com calls “well above-average bat speed and foot speed and plus raw power.”