Friday, November 26, 2010

Martinez will be Tigers Primary DH

The Tigers officially announced today that Victor Martinez has been signed to a four year contract.  The more interesting news was that general manager Dave Dombrowski confirmed that Alex Avila will be the primary catcher and that Matinez will catch two or three times per week:
"We expect Victor to be in our lineup on a daily basis, serving primarily as our club's designated hitter and catching two to three times a week," Dombrowski said. "He also has the ability to fill in at first base, and his versatility allows us to keep a premier bat in our lineup every day.
So, we can estimate that Avila will catch about 100 games and Martinez 60.  Of course, that could change if Avila shows that he's not ready for regular catching duties. 
The left-handed batting Avila will likely start against most right-handed starters.  The switch hitting Martinez will catch against left-handed pitchers and serve as the designated hitter the rest of the time.  The value of having Martinez being the primary DH is that it should allow them to keep his bat in the line-up more often.  Without the wear and and tear of catching, he also might actually be a better hitter.  When Martinez is catching , the DH spot will probably be split between Cabrera, Carlos Guillen and others.  

Martinez will bat either third or fifth in the line-up with Cabrera keeping his cleanup spot.  The Tigers are also expected to add a corner outfielder this off-season.  There are still some rumblings about premier free agents Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, but I think they are long shots to sign with the Tigers.  Magglio Ordonez is the odds on favorite, but a trade is also a possibility. 

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