There were some rumors recently about a potential trade of outfielder J.D. Martinez from Detroit to San Francisco. If the Orioles lose free agent Mark Trumbo to another team, Martinez and his solid bat might play well in right field in Baltimore.
A Tigers team that is looking to get younger and cut payroll might be willing to deal Martinez, who will be a free agent after next season. He is due to earn $11.75 million for 2017.
Several teams should be attracted by that reasonable price for a player that hit .307/.373/.535 last year with a .908 OPS. Over the last three years, Martinez has averaged a line of .299/.357/.540 with 27.6 homers and 82 RBIs. His slugging percentage and OPS of .898 since 2014 rank seventh best in the American League in that span and he is 13th in home runs. By comparison, Manny Machado has an OPS of .846 and Chris Davis .814 since 2014.
Martinez ranked solidly in defensive metrics in 2015 but poorly last year. Among 17 qualifying right fielders, he was 17th and last with a minus-22 defensive runs saved.
But there is a lot to like about his bat and he would add a strong right-handed hitter. He comes at a reasonable price for next year, but the Orioles would have to give up something to get him and might only have him for the one season. But he could be a short-term fix in right field with the possibility to sign him for a longer term. If the qualifying offer stays in effect in MLB after next season, he might be a candidate for that.
Longball basher available: Chris Carter hit 41 homers last year to lead the National League and rank tied for sixth in majors. Now he is about to be non-tendered by the Milwaukee Brewers, according to USA Today, making him a free agent.
As a batter with a low batting average (.222), a high strikeout total (206) and a lot of homers, he sounds like someone that would fit perfectly on the Orioles, right? Just kidding, but he is now available.
A career .218/.314/.463 hitter that is not great on defense in the outfield or at first base, Carter will likely be pursued by American League teams for the DH spot. If the Orioles lost both Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez, he might at least be considered as someone with power for a lineup that already has a lot of power.
Carter, whose 102 homers the last three years rank eighth in the majors, might be had on a one-year deal. While the Orioles probably don’t need to be adding even more strikeouts to their lineup, he could be a consideration pending other developments.
More CBA talk: The owners and players still do not have a new collective bargaining agreement as of late last night with the deadline of 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday night looming.
Sources: Club officials understand that if sufficient progress isn’t made this week in CBA talks, teams won’t participate in winter meetings-- Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 28, 2016
It still seems more likely to me that the sides either come to an agreement or seek to extend the current deal a few days while finishing up on the new one. That seems more likely than a lockout or possibly the cancellation of next week’s Winter Meetings. But the clock is ticking.