Adding some thump

Di­a­mond­backs ac­quire J.D. Martinez from Tigers

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY DAVE SKRETTA

J.D. Martinez had been the sub­ject of trade spec­u­la­tion for weeks, and it reached such a crescendo Mon­day night even his mom texted to ask if Detroit’s star out­fielder had been dealt when he left a game in Kansas City with a sore back.

Turns out she was only off by a day.

The Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs ac­quired Martinez for a trio of prospects on Tues­day, hop­ing to so­lid­ify a trou­ble spot in the out­field with a sorely needed right-handed bat for a run at the play­offs.

“I don’t think he was sur­prised,” Tigers gen­eral man­ager Al Avila said. “I think he was hop­ing it didn’t hap­pen, quite frankly. I didn’t want it to hap­pen. I wanted to be out here in first place. I think it was hard for him be­cause, like he said, this is his home. This is where he be­came J.D. Martinez.”

Martinez, who is mak­ing $11.75 mil­lion this year and can become a free agent af­ter the

sea­son, ac­knowl­edged he would likely be traded with the Tigers slid­ing from con­tention. The 29-year-old for­mer all-star was one of the pre­mier right-handed bats on the mar­ket.

“You knew it was go­ing to hap­pen. You don’t re­ally know how you’re go­ing to feel. It doesn’t hit you un­til they tell you,” he said. “It’s def­i­nitely tough. I love this or­ga­ni­za­tion. I love the fans. I love every­thing in Detroit. That’s home for me. I’ve al­ways said that.”

But as the Di­a­mond­backs try to hold down the top spot in the NL wild-card race, their de­sire to make a play­off push led them to Martinez, who hap­pens to pro­vide ex­actly what they needed.

“We’re ex­cited to add a mid­dle-of-the-or­der cor­ner out­fielder to our lineup,” said Di­a­mond­backs gen­eral man­ager Mike Hazen, adding he might not be done deal­ing ahead of the July 31 dead­line.

Avila also said more trades are pos­si­ble. Tigers closer Justin Wil­son has been draw­ing plenty of at­ten­tion, and the club is hop­ing to shed pay­roll as it be­gins to re­build.

Martinez spent three mid­dling sea­sons in Hous­ton be­fore sign­ing as a free agent with Detroit, where he be­came one of the top power hit­ters in the game. He hit 38 homers and drove in 102 runs in 2015 and hit 22 homers in 120 games last sea­son.

Martinez is ex­pected to slide into left field as Yas­many To­mas deals with a groin in­jury.

“It’s go­ing to be weird – a new club­house, new play­ers,” Martinez said. “They’ve got a great team over there. They’ve been good for a rea­son. I’m just hop­ing to go over there and hop on their train and just do what I can to help them keep do­ing what they’ve been do­ing.”

The trade was nearly com­pleted Mon­day night, when Martinez left late in the Tigers’ game against the Kansas City Roy­als. At nearly the same time, top Na­tion­als prospect Vic­tor Robles was re­moved from his game at Class-A Po­tomac, send­ing so­cial me­dia ablaze amid spec­u­la­tion the two teams agreed to a trade.

Martinez wound up hav­ing a sore back. Robles was pulled for a baserun­ning blun­der.

But those de­tails only came to light af­ter Martinez was in­un­dated with text mes­sages from friends and fam­ily – “Mom texted,” he said with a slight smile – ask­ing where he had been traded.

Avila said he was keen to bol­ster the Tigers’ farm sys­tem with po­si­tion prospects, which is why he jumped at the chance to add three in­field­ers. Lugo is a ster­ling de­fen­sive third base­man with a solid bat who will join the club at Dou­ble-A, while Al­can­tara is an ath­letic short­stop. King is still in rookie ball, but Avila said he had “inside in­for­ma­tion” that made him an ex­cit­ing prospect.

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