The Chicago Cubs have acquired 1B/OF Jose Martinez from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for two players to be named later.
I really don\’t like this trade for the Rays, although we likely won\’t know who they got until the season is over. This offseason, they gave up LHP Matthew Liberatore, who is the 61st best prospect in the league (per MLB Pipeline) to acquire Martinez and Randy Arozarena. When the trade happened, it looked like an overpay, and it looks even worse after Martinez only played in 24 games in Tampa Bay. The Rays do have a lot of outfielders, including Arozarena, who was called up after the trade and has not played yet this year, but guys like Hunter Renfroe, Kevin Kiermaier and Yoshi Tsutsugo have gotten off to much worse starts than Martinez this year. For the Cubs, Martinez is a lefty-masher who has played in the NL Central before, spending his first four seasons with the Cardinals. In his career, Martinez has a decent OPS of .773 against right-handers, but against lefties? it is an outstanding .946 in 336 Plate Appearances. So far this year, he hasn\’t hit southpaws as well, with a .229 average and .718 OPS against them, although that only accounts for 38 Plate Appearances. He also walks a lot, with a 9.3 BB% in his career. While he may not be a great defender, Martinez is definitely an improvement at designated hitter over catcher Victor Caratini, who has started at the position 12 times this year.
Martinez, 32, has hit two home runs with a .239 average and an OPS of .717 in 76 Plate Appearances for the Rays this year. In his career for the Rays and St. Louis Cardinals, Martinez has 43 home runs with a .294 average and an OPS of .815 in 1364 Plate Appearances.