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MLB rumors: Tigers could shop J.D. Martinez at deadline

Despite his hot start at the plate, the slumping Tigers may look to deal the 29-year-old outfielder.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers could look to trade outfielder J.D. Martinez as the trade deadline approaches, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Detroit is off to a slow start at 23-27, where they currently sit in fourth place in the AL Central.

Despite the disappointing start, Rosenthal reports that the Tigers could deal Martinez “even if they remain in contention.” The club has been looking into dealing veterans for younger pieces that can help them both now and in the future.

Martinez, 29, missed the team’s first 33 games due to a sprained right foot, but has been one of the league’s hottest hitters since his return. Martinez has hit .298/.452/.766 with a 1.218 OPS and slugged seven home runs in the 16 games since being activated from the disabled list. He will be one of the hottest deadline commodities should the Tigers make him available.

The former All-Star and Silver Slugger is set to become a free agent at the end of this season, and with a significant amount of money locked up with aging veterans such as Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, and Justin Upton, among others, it is unlikely the Tigers would bring him back, due to the team’s desire to cut back on its payroll.