ESPN’s Olney: Deals for Tigers’ Martinez, Wilson considered 'imminent'

The Detroit News

Perhaps it’s a forgone conclusion at this point.

Rumors are swirling about teams lining up to land Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez, and likewise for right-hander Justin Verlander, and closer Justin Wilson.

And, while trade talks involving Verlander and at least one potential suitor — the Cubs — apparently never got off the ground, Buster Olney of ESPN writes Monday (pay site) that Tigers fans shouldn’t get too attached to Martinez and Wilson.

Martinez and Wilson are two of five players Olney writes “will be dealt over the next 14 days,” referring to the July 31 trade deadline.

Olney called moves involving the five players “imminent by baseball officials.”

“The position-player market is saturated, generally, and in the hours leading up to the trade deadline, some general managers expect a purge of salary,” Olney writes. “But Martinez has more value than others, because he is a strong middle-of-the-order hitter who is having a good year, batting over .300 with power.”

Martinez, 29, is hitting .308 with 16 home runs and 39 RBIs, despite missing the first six weeks of the season with a sprained right foot.

“... Martinez has destroyed left-handed pitchers, carrying a .500 average with damage into Sunday’s game — 18 hits in 36 at-bats, including four doubles, one triple, six homers, six walks and six strikeouts,” Olney writes. “He would present an incredible weapon for the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose struggles against lefties last year are well-documented.”

The lefty Wilson, meanwhile, has locked down the role of closer for the Tigers since replacing Francisco Rodriguez in May. He’s 10 for 11 in save opportunities, with a 2.29 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and he’s held opponents to a .153 average. He’s struck out 50 in 35.1 innings.

“Wilson isn’t a classic left-hander, in that he doesn’t dominate left-handed hitters with a great breaking ball,” Olney writes. “But he is outstanding against right-handed hitters, and he can serve in multiple roles. His value is so high right now that officials think Detroit will capitalize on his standing in the market and move him. Just about every contender could use him in one form or another.”

As for Verlander, Olney writes any deal involving the ace would be “incredibly complicated,” given Verlander’s contract and his ability to veto deals, among others.