Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Houston Astros have agreed to send outfielder Fernando Martinez to the New York Yankees in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Charles Basford.
Martinez, a former top prospect in the New York Mets organization who was ranked as high as No. 22 on Baseball America's Top-100 prospects list, has failed to make an impact in parts of five big league seasons with the Mets and Astros.
He owns a career WAR of -1.4, mostly because of his terrible triple-slash line of .206/.269/.362. He has just nine home runs, 29 RBI and two stolen bases to his name in 282 career at-bats.
It's unknown as to how Martinez will be used in New York. Manager Joe Girardi already has five outfielders—Vernon Wells, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki,Thomas Neal and Zoilo Almonte—on the roster. Neal could be sent down in favor of Martinez (as could Almonte), though neither move necessarily represents an immediate upgrade.
Neal has one hit in five at-bats for the Yankees this season after just being called up a few games ago. He has power from the right side of the plate, but has only 11 games of major league experience. Martinez, albeit unimpressively, has logged 99 career games. Almonte, on the other hand, was just called up on Tuesday and has yet to play a game in the bigs.
This is likely the last chance for Martinez, who doesn't become a free agent until 2018, to capitalize on his once-praised potential. The Yankees can't offer him much playing time to start, but he could eventually work his way into more frequent at-bats if he proves himself.
The chances of Martinez turning into the player he was expected to are slim, but the Yankees do have the opportunity to get lucky with this acquisition. We'll have to wait and see how much playing time he gets to find out.
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