Tribe Deals Prospect Castro for Detroit Outfielder Martin, Pitcher Dowdy
Bob Toth | On 31, Jul 2018
The Cleveland Indians addressed their depleted outfield on Tuesday in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline, acquiring veteran outfielder Leonys Martin and minor league pitcher Kyle Dowdy from the Detroit Tigers for shortstop prospect Willi Castro.
Martin is not expected to arrive in time for the team’s game in Minnesota against the Twins on Tuesday night. The 30-year-old outfielder came at the cost of one of the Indians’ top middle infield prospects in Castro, who had been with the organization for five years and is just 21 years old.
Martin signed with the Tigers in the offseason on a one year, $1.75 million deal with another $1.1 million available via incentives. Because of the amount of service time that he entered the season with, he will also be under team control for the 2019 season through a final season of arbitration, giving him even more value to the Indians.
The addition of Martin to the Tribe roster helps address what was a murky outfield picture for Cleveland for 2019 and beyond. Current outfielders Michael Brantley, Melky Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Rajai Davis are all free agents after the season. Bradley Zimmer will miss time at the start of the next campaign after being shut down following shoulder surgery and Tyler Naquin is heading to New York for further evaluation on a hip issue. The remaining outfielders on the roster currently (Greg Allen, Brandon Guyer) have provided mixed results in limited action, and the depth at Triple-A in the outfield is not encouraging.
The left-handed hitting Martin had appeared in 78 games for the Tigers so far this season, contributing a .251/.321/.409 line at the plate with 15 doubles, three triples, nine homers, and 29 RBI. He had stolen seven bases in ten attempts on the year, but had struggled some with the strikeout, whiffing nearly once per game. He missed two and a half weeks in July with a left hamstring strain.
Defensively, he will provide a solid glove and arm to the outfield for the Tribe. He leads the American League with nine outfield assists and he has recorded the second-most putouts by an outfielder in the league despite missing the chunk of time in July.
He will join Yonder Alonso as Cuban-born players on the Indians roster (with a third Cuban player, Yandy Diaz, also on the 40-man roster at Triple-A Columbus). He defected from the island nation and signed professionally with the Texas Rangers in 2011. He is in his eighth season in the Majors and has previously played for Texas (2011-2015), Seattle (2016-17), and the Chicago Cubs (2017).
Dowdy, a 25-year-old right-hander, is in his third season in professional baseball after being drafted by the Tigers in the 12th round of the 2015 draft out of the University of Houston. He has been used both as a starter and a reliever throughout his pro career, making 52 starts and 20 relief appearances over the last three seasons. He spent 2016 in the Class-A Midwest League at West Michigan (10-3, 2.84 ERA in 23 games/16 starts) and 2017 in the High-A Florida State League at Lakeland (8-12, 3.83 ERA in 25 games/22 starts).
He started this season with Double-A Erie, spending the first month and a half of the season with the SeaWolves before being promoted to Triple-A Toledo. He was transferred back to Double-A on July 13 of this month. In five starts and eight relief appearances for Erie, he was 3-4 with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with 48 strikeouts and 11 walks in 40 2/3 innings. He made nine starts and two relief appearances with Toledo, posting a 5-4 mark with a 4.47 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP with 44 strikeouts and 21 walks in 54 1/3 innings.
He is expected to report to Double-A Akron to begin the Indians portion of his career.
Castro, the fifth-year shortstop, had been playing his first season at the Double-A level with the RubberDucks. Through 97 games, he had put together a .245/.303/.350 slash with 20 doubles, two triples, five homers, and 39 RBI while stealing 13 of 17 bases. He was a midseason All-Star for the third straight season, recognized this time by the Eastern League.
He signed with the Indians in 2013 out of Puerto Rico and began his pro career in 2014 in the Arizona Rookie League. He played during the 2015 season with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers and spent nearly all of 2016 at Class-A Lake County (where he was a midseason All-Star for the first time) prior to a brief appearance at High-A Lynchburg to close out the minor league schedule. He had his best season to date last year in his return to the Hillcats roster, hitting .290 with a .337 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging mark with 24 doubles, three triples, eleven homers, and 58 RBI in 123 games.
He was expendable given the Indians’ depth organizationally at shortstop. Francisco Lindor is entrenched with the big league club with Erik Gonzalez on the bench as a capable backup at the position. Both Eric Stamets and Yu Chang were ahead of Castro at short at Triple-A Columbus and both were already on the 40-man roster and available in the event that Cleveland needed emergency coverage at the position.
It marked the first trade between the two clubs since just before the deadline in 2010, when the Indians dealt shortstop/third baseman Jhonny Peralta and cash to the Tigers for left-handed pitching prospect Giovanni Soto on July 28.
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