According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Tampa Bay Rays and St Louis Cardinals have had talks involving 1B/OF Jose Martinez.
He notes the Cardinals are seeking a left-handed utility player, with the Rays having several players that could fit that need.
From @dgoold on @TMASTL: The #STLCards have explored trades to move Jose Martinez. They've talked with Tampa. They could make a need-for-need trade in which they do a deal with a team who needs a right-handed bat who can play OF and 1B for a utility left-handed bat.— Tim McKernan (@tmckernan) December 6, 2018
Last night, when the St Louis Cardinals acquired 1B Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks, speculation instantly began on whether or not the Cardinals would trade their first baseman from the 2018 season Jose Martinez, whose road to starting now goes through Dexter Fowler.
The Tampa Bay Rays missed out on Goldschmidt, who they were reportedly interested in, but could benefit from him being traded as Jose Martinez is now a player without a position on the National League Cardinals, who cannot employ a DH.
The 30-year old Venezuelan is a ‘hitting extraordinaire’ but is an albatross on the field defensively. Thus far, over his three years in the majors, Martinez has put together a career 130 wRC+.
In 2018, Martinez hit .305/.364/.457 with 17 HR over 590 plate appearances, and would fit the right handed hitting need created by C.J. Cron’s DFA. Despite his advanced age, Martinez will not be arbitration eligible until 2020.
The cost for Martinez in a trade figures to be low, with him now being effectively position-less in St Louis, and the lack of trade value for most right handed hitting first basemen out there.
The most recent comp for a trade such as this would be when the Rays acquired C.J. Cron from the Angels for infielder Luis Rengifo, who has become a valuable prospect for LAA despite not being a ranked commodity in Tampa Bay.
Similarly valued left-handed utility players in the Rays system would include switch hitter Andrew Velazquez (a speedy bench player on the 40-man roster), and utility Rule 5 eligible left handed hitters like Kean Wong (younger brother to St. Louis’s second baseman Kolten Wong), Jake Cronenworth, or Peter Maris.
Previously: Kolten Wong had choice words for the Rays for passing over his brother Kean Wong when the team promoted Top-100 prospect Brandon Lowe. A team MVP in Triple-A, Wong was not protected on the 40-man roster at the Rule 5 deadline earlier this offseason.