A while ago, Chuck wrote a piece detailing a potential trade of Jose Martinez to the Mariners, Twins, or Blue Jays based on getting solid relief pitching help back from them in return. I think there are many reasons to trade Jose Martinez - but one of them Chuck didn't address in that piece was clearing another 40-man roster spot by trading him for prospects. Tyler Kinzy at Viva El Birdos (of course I can't find it at the moment) had a nice look at that topic near the trade deadline last year and determined that Martinez could potentially be worth a couple to several prospects in value depending on how you evaluate the prospects. My idea is to move Martinez to the Tampa Bay Rays - a team that Chuck didn't look at but a team with which the front office has had recent moves and has a good history.
I think that Jose Martinez would be a good fit for the Tampa Bay Rays and that they could actually give up something for Martinez that would make the Cardinals move him.
The prospects in question:
1) Joe McCarthy - LF/1B
2) Ian Gibaut - RH RP
3) Colin Poche - LH RP
4) Nathaniel Lowe - 1B
5) Rene Pinto - C
6) Brock Burke - LH SP
McCarthy was a 5th round draft pick out of UVA in 2015 when he was 21 years old. He finished the 2015 season at short-season A ball and got on base well but didn't hit very well overall. In his first full season in the minors, he got moved to a full season A ball club where he was at league average age and hit very well for 193 PA. He got moved to High A, where he hit (not quite as) well for 237 PA. He spent the entirety of 2017 in AA and had another very good season offensively. In 2018, he had an abbreviated season (only 216 PA), but still hit quite well despite being moved up to the AAA level and being 2.5 years below average age. McCarthy is not a typical LF/1B type. He has 105 xbh in 1,412 minor league PA, but only 23 of them are home runs. He also has a 61:14 SB:CS.
Gibaut was taken in the same draft, but in round 11, out of Tulane University. He came out of college as a reliever and has never been used as a starter in the minors. He has consistently thrown at about 1 year below league average age until this year when he was put into AAA at 24 and was over 2 years younger than league average. He has been very consistent throughout his 3.5 years in the minors, has pitched in 142 games (203 2/3 innings) with 253 Ks and 76 BBs (3.33 K:BB). His 1.095 WHIP is great, as is his 3.14 ERA and his 16-7 record out of the pen. He has finished 78 games and has 31 saves in that time. He has fairly consistently been better against righties than lefties, but held his own against lefties in 2017 and 2018 fairly well.
Colin Poche is an interesting prospect. He was taken in the 5th round as a high schooler in the 2012 draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He chose the college route and then was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016 in round 14. Poche has had some injury troubles, throwing in just 92 games in 2.5 seasons and one trip to the AFL, but was at AAA at age 24 for 28 games (50 innings) in 2018. He has been very dominant in the minors with an 11-3 record, 1.65 ERA, 0.959 WHIP, and 3.94 K:BB (buoyed by a 13.6 K/9!). He has struck out 248 of the 628 batters he has faced in the minors. Not that he's been bad against anyone, but he's not your typical lefty reliever in that he's actually had a reverse split each year - being better against righties than lefties all 3 seasons.
Lowe was taken in the 13th round of the 2016 draft. He's had an interesting path as he went to three different colleges and still was taken in the draft at age 20. I have no idea what that means for character purposes, but what I do know is that Lowe had 220 PA at High A this year followed by 225 PA at AA and 110 PA at AAA. He finished the year with a .330/.416/.568/.985 line and 32 doubles and 27 homers plus 93 runs and 102 RBI. He also walked 68 times to just 90 Ks. He's a left-handed stick that throws right and hasn't played anywhere but first in the minors.
I know very little about Pinto defensively as a catcher. The gist of it is that he has thrown out 59 of 148 (40%) prospective base thieves in the minors (with two years unaccounted for). What I do know is that his bat has been a bit inconsistent but still decent. His OPS in the Florida State League was .759 - with a good .353 OBP. The Florida State League is one of the toughest leagues to hit in out of all of professional baseball. It's where top hitting prospects go to die. He puts the ball in play and has gotten on base about 34% of the time in the minors with an average of .291 in over 1,100 PA.
Probably the prize of the group would be Brock Burke. He was a 3rd round pick out of high school in the 2014 draft. He is still just 22 years old and will play most of next season at that age. He is already up to 74 starts and 387 2/3 innings in the minors. He has a 374:132 K:BB (2.83). Striking out almost 1 an inning is great for a starter, especially a left-handed one. He's 27-20 with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.267 WHIP. His numbers seem to improve every season, however. Those are not indicative of him in 2018, I don't believe. I think he's better than those overall numbers show.
As of this very moment, MLB Pipeline (not necessarily the BEST source) has Nathaniel Lowe as the Rays #13 prospect, Joe McCarthy at #17, Colin Poche at #24, Ian Gibaut at #29, and neither Burke nor Pinto rated.
Another factor in play here is that Rene Pinto, Ian Gibaut, Brock Burke, and Joe McCarthy would have to be added to the 40-man this year to avoid losing them in the Rule 5 Draft (to the Padres, I'm sure).
I believe Jose Martinez's bat (going to a team with the DH so he could be "hidden") could get you 2-4 of them outside the top 20. Let's say Jose Martinez for Gibaut, Burke, and Pinto. I could be wrong. That would be the type of trade I'd be looking at for Jose Martinez, however.
(Thanks to @cardinalsgifs for the cover art!)