Braves trade pitching prospect to Rangers for outfielder

AP file photo by Godofredo A. Vásquez / J.P. Martinez, a 27-year-old outfielder, was traded by the Texas Rangers to the Atlanta Braves on Friday.
AP file photo by Godofredo A. Vásquez / J.P. Martinez, a 27-year-old outfielder, was traded by the Texas Rangers to the Atlanta Braves on Friday.

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves added outfield depth on Friday by acquiring J.P. Martínez from the Texas Rangers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Tyler Owens.

Martínez, a 27-year-old native of Cuba, made his Major League Baseball debut last season for the Texas Rangers, who went on to win the World Series for the first time in franchise history. In 17 games and 44 plate appearances for Texas, the left-handed batter hit .225 with one home run and four RBIs.

He spent most of 2023 in the minors, batting .297 with 14 homers, 60 RBIs and 41 stolen bases across three leagues. He gives the Braves another much-needed position player on their 40-man roster and is expected to compete for a bench job when spring training begins next month.

Atlanta has reigning National League MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. in right field and 2022 NL rookie of the year Michael Harris II in center, with Jarred Kelenic expected to take over in left after being traded by the Seattle Mariners in early December. Orlando Arcia and Marcell Ozuna are options in the outfield if needed, but Arcia has established himself as the team's starting shortstop and Ozuna has settled in at designated hitter, so outfield depth will be important this year.

Owens, 23, has spent four seasons in Atlanta's minor league system, reaching Double-A Mississippi last season. In his 77 professional appearances, he has a record of 5-15 with a 4.37 ERA.

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