Rumor Central: High trade value for Tigers' J.D. Martinez?

J.D. Martinez has enhanced his trade value by hitting .305 with a 1.103 OPS in 28 games this season. Justin Berl/Getty Images

If the Detroit Tigers become sellers as the July 31 trade deadline approaches, a valuable bargaining chip will be outfielder J.D. Martinez, who will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Rumor Central

The 29-year-old Martinez has only enhanced his value by hitting .305 with 10 homers in 28 games since returning from a sprained ligament in his foot. An All-Star in 2015, Martinez owns a career slash line of .282/.339/.491 with 117 homers.

Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press polled several scouts and executives, and the consensus is “the Tigers could get multiple prospects -- one among an organization’s higher-tier players, plus another in the next tier -- and perhaps a major leaguer” in a deal for Martinez.

The Tigers could hold on to Martinez and land a draft pick if he were to reject a qualifying offer, but Fenech suggests the return would be greater by working out a trade this summer.

The Tigers are 30-32 but are just 3.5 games out of first place in the suddenly mediocre AL Central, which complicates the decision for general manager Al Avila. Detroit is a team on the fence as the trade deadline approaches, writes ESPN’s Bradford Doolittle in his forecast of likely sellers and buyers.

-- Doug Mittler