DETROIT -- The Tigers went into Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline looking to make some moves and accumulate prospects. They came away with one, sending center fielder Leonys Martin and Double-A pitching prospect Kyle Dowdy to Cleveland for shortstop prospect Willi Castro.They had hopes for another deal as the day wore
DETROIT -- The Tigers went into Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline looking to make some moves and accumulate prospects. They came away with one, sending center fielder Leonys Martin and Double-A pitching prospect Kyle Dowdy to Cleveland for shortstop prospect Willi Castro.
They had hopes for another deal as the day wore on, but couldn't come close to a trade for pitcher Mike Fiers.
With more sellers than buyers on the market, Detroit general manager Al Avila wasn't going to force a trade just for the sake of trading.
"In our situation, we're not in a hurry to make a bad deal," he said.
Swapping Martin and a Minor League pitcher for a shortstop prospect, Avila said, was a good deal that took three days of talks and late-night work Monday to put together. It comes eight years after the last Tigers-Indians trade, which sent shortstop Jhonny Peralta to Detroit.
Castro is the fifth middle-infield prospect the Tigers have acquired in trades since last summer, and he'll join two others in Double-A Erie. The 21-year-old switch-hitter ranked No. 8 on MLB Pipeline's list of Indians prospects. His .245 average and .653 OPS at Double-A Akron this season are both down from stronger numbers at Class A Advanced Lynchburg last season.
"We tried to acquire him last year," Avila said. "We feel that he has a chance to be a good, everyday shortstop. We feel that he's going to hit. We feel that he's going to be a good infielder. So it adds to the mix of the good young prospects that we have right now."
Castro enters the Tigers' system ranked 10th among their prospects by MLB Pipeline, highest among infielders. Erie already has shortstop/second base prospect Isaac Paredes, ranked 12th after his trade from the Cubs system last summer, and Sergio Alcantara, ranked 19th following his arrival from the Diamondbacks system in last summer's J.D. Martinez trade.
Castro, Paredes and Alcantara will rotate infield positions with Erie, according to Avila. One will play shortstop on a given night, while the other two play second and third base.
While Detroit benefited this season from a rejuvenated Martin, a trade was always the likely outcome to his Detroit tenure. Martin was one of several signings the Tigers made last offseason with players looking to rebound and recover value, at which point they could be marketed to other teams for prospects around the Trade Deadline and help the Tigers bolster their farm system.
"We went out and signed him this winter for two purposes," Avila said. "We loved his defense and we wanted a good defensive center fielder. We felt there was a good chance for him to have a comeback year offensively. And we liked his energy and his enthusiasm. He really gave us a good lift.
"At the same time, we also knew that in our situation, come July 31, if he had a decent first part of the season, there was a chance we may be able to move him for a prospect. And that's exactly how it worked out. So, today's a good day for the Detroit Tigers."
After struggling during the 2017 season between the Mariners and Cubs, Martin signed a one-year deal for $1.75 million to join Detroit, where an everyday role and an expansive outfield helped him experience a bounce-back season at age 30 despite a nagging hamstring issue that landed him on the disabled list at the start of July.
Martin batted .251 (76-for-303) with 15 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and 45 runs scored. His .731 OPS is on track to be the best of his career, while his .321 on-base percentage is his best since 2014.
Martin has struggled at the plate since his return from the DL after the All-Star break, going 5-for-27 with eight strikeouts and no stolen-base attempts. However, his play in center field made him a commodity for an Indians team seeking help at the position following Bradley Zimmer's season-ending injury.
"We had a couple other inquiries on Martin. Cleveland was the most aggressive," Avila said. "They had probably the biggest need at this point, and so we really got more into [talks] last night."
The 25-year-old Dowdy was a 12th-round pick by the Tigers in the 2015 Draft. He has split this season between Triple-A Toledo and Double-A Erie, combining for an 8-8 record with a 4.74 ERA while striking out 92 batters in 95 innings.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.