The Tigers are reportedly close to signing catcher Victor Martinez to a four-year deal worth $50 million. There is no report on what role Martinez would play on the Tigers. One thought is that he would be the primary catcher for a year or two, while Alex Avila eases into the position. However, the Tigers have stated a couple of times that they are committed to Avila as their starting catcher next year. My guess is that there would be a platoon with Martinez catching when the opponent has a left-handed pitcher on the mound. The rest of the time Martinez would be the designated hitter.
The switch-hitting Martinez has batted .302/.368/.486 over the last two years and his 48.2 batting runs during that period ranks second in the majors to Joe Mauer among catchers. He has a career OPS of over .800 versus both left-handers and right-handers. There is no doubt he is one of the premiere hitting catchers in baseball. For more on Martinez, check out my earlier article.
I had expected the Tigers to sign Martinez and I think a four-year deal is reasonable. Any more than that would be pushing it. The downside to the deal is that the Tigers would lose their first-round draft pick as Martinez is a Type-A free agent.
This signing would likely eliminate the Tigers from the Adam Dunn sweepstakes as they no longer would have a need for a full-time designated hitter. Assuming they do sign Martinez, there is a possibility they will now pursue Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth to play a corner outfield spot, but I suspect they will sign a cheaper option. My guess is Magglio Ordonez.