Another day of the MLB Winter Meetings – another wild trade rumor involving the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ken Rosenthal reports the Dodgers are ‘talking’ to the St. Louis Cardinals about first baseman Jose Martinez. In this scenario, Martinez would play first base with Max Muncy sliding to second base. Of course, Cody Bellinger would remain in center.
This one is a surprise. #Dodgers talking to #STLCards about Jose Martinez, sources tell The Athletic. LAD could play the defensively challenged Martinez at first base, with Muncy at second and Bellinger in center.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2018
Now, there’s a lot of ground to cover before a rumor becomes an actual trade. Activity thus far across the league has been stagnant – but rampant with rumors like this one.
For instance, the Dodgers had reported interest in both Jose Abreu and Nick Castellanos in the past few days. Then there’s A.J. Pollock, Joe Kelly, and the ongoing talks with the Cincinnati Reds. And don’t forget about the Corey Kluber pursuit with the Cleveland Indians. Bryce Harper remains the big fish that the Dodgers seem constantly connected with.
Nevertheless, Los Angeles might end up with one or two of these players. So in the meantime, we try to connect the dots and read between the lines. What is this interest in Jose Martinez trying to tell us?
Rosenthal is right in one regard – it is surprising. While Martinez boasts true ‘light-tower power’, he’s a statue at the first base position. This doesn’t seem to jive with the team that the Dodgers want to build defensively – and it’s compounded with playing Muncy at second base regularly.
Equally important, Martinez was a negative 2.1 bWAR at first base in 2018. This comes with the .305 average, 17 homers, and 83 RBI in 534 at-bats.
We may never learn what these rumors mean, and it’s possible nothing comes of any of them. That is the frustrating part of this time of year in baseball. Still, if Rosenthal is reporting it; the Dodgers are checking out Martinez in some fashion. His power has the ability to excite, but would he truly make the current Dodgers a better version? And what would the asking price be?
Martinez is likely available due to the Cardinals recently acquiring Paul Goldschmidt.
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