On Monday the Rangers traded OF Leonys Martin and RHP Anthony Bass to the Mariners, in exchange for veteran RHP Tom Wilhelmson and OF James Jones, and a player to be named later. This comes just five days after team president Jon Daniels announced that Texas would tender Martin a contract.
Wilhelmson, 31, had spent all of his four-year career with the Mariners, posting a 2.97 ERA (3.94 xFIP) in a shade over 300 IP, with a solid 22.7% strikeout rate and below-average 10.8% strikeout rate. He joins an already deep assortment of arms in the Rangers bullpen -- along with Shawn Tolleson, Sam Dyson, Keone Kela and Jake Diekman -- and is under contract for 2016 and 2017.
Jones, 27, is the wildcard in this deal, as to this point he's performed at a sub-replacement level through fractions of two MLB seasons (.238/.268/.296, 61 wRC+, -1.6 fWAR). In the minor leagues he showed some semblance of getting on base, and stole his fair share of bases, so there is hope that he can develop into a 4th/5th outfielder with some decent utility, but I won't be holding my breath.
In 2011, the Rangers signed Leonys Martin to a five-year big league contract worth $15.5 million, including a $5 million signing bonus. In spite of posting monster minor league numbers -- as well as being added to the 2011 ALDS playoff roster less than six months after the ink had dried -- Martin's biggest contributions wouldn't begin to take shape until 2013, after Josh Hamilton signed with the Angels in free agency.
The results were mostly positive, as Leonys generated a modest .260/.313/.385 (87 wRC+) triple slash line with an advanced feel defending center field during his rookie campaign. The year after, in 2014, in a lost year for the Rangers on the field, Martin posted a .274/.325/.364 (89 wRC+) clip with Gold Glove-caliber defense in CF. Through his first two seasons, he was worth +6.4 fWAR in a scarce position of talent around MLB. He more than paid (by about double) for the $20.5 million investment the Rangers made in him four years earlier.
2015 was a year Leonys never really got it going. In 95 games and about 300 plate appearances, he slashed just .219/.264/.313 (50 wRC+), lost his starting job to Rule-5 pick Delino DeShields, and was later exiled to Triple-A where he would break his hand.
Martin would fill in during late September, in mostly mop-up action, with the Rangers, but didn't make the postseason roster against the Blue Jays, and refused an assignment to keep training at the team's complex in Surprise in case he would be needed in the LCS. Because he's being sold so low to Seattle, it's evident that Jon Daniels crossed the reconciliation threshold between a player's overall talent in helping a franchise win games, and that player's actions being detrimental to the team and its ultimate goal.
In the Rangers post-juggernaut years -- 2013-'15 -- Leonys Martin helped the club win a lot of baseball games. It's just unfortunate that his time in Texas had to end such a way.