The Tigers are still trying to trade OF J.D. Martinez, but they've yet to find the right deal, ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported this past weekend.
According to friends in Detroit, the Mets made early calls this winter about Martinez, but backed out when they signed Yoenis Cespedes. However, earlier this week on MLB Network Radio, host Steve Phillips said he heard the Mets may still be interested. I find this hard to believe, since the last thing the Mets need right now is a one-year, home-run hitting rental player in right field. But, maybe they were simply doing follow-up calls, and just checking on what Detroit has in the works.
In either case, as it pertains to the Tigers, I recall hearing in December that they had interest in Steven Matz and Michael Conforto, not just in preliminary talks about Martinez, but also 18 months ago when negotiating for Cespedes.
Conforto (30) hits during the third inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
The Mets have repeatedly told teams interested in Conforto and top SS prospect Amed Rosario that neither player is available in trade this winter, GM Sandy Alderson explained to reporters before leaving the Baseball Winter Meetings in early December.
Martinez, 29, hit .307 with a .373 OBP and .535 SLG with 22 HR and 68 RBI in 120 games last season for the Tigers. He hit 38 HR in 158 games in 2015 and will earn $11.75 million in 2017, after which he is eligible for free agency.
The Giants were the only team reportedly expressing serious interest in Martinez during December's Baseball Winter Meetings. However, more recent reports indicate the Giants are no longer interested.
Similarly, according to FOXSports.com's John Morosi, while the Phillies had expressed interest in Martinez earlier in the offseason, talks didn't get progress very far.
I actually bet the Tigers keep him. They've done a nice job this offseason restructuring their payroll and roster. And, they actually have a group good enough to compete in 2017. If they're playing well, maybe they press in July. But, if they're floating or struggling, they can always deal Martinez and his remaining $5 million for roughly the same level talent they're probably being offered right now...
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) has been the lead writer of MetsBlog.com since 2003, as well as Executive Editor and Director of Digital Content for SNY.TV and host of the MetsBlog Q&ACast, pres. by Citi.