Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tigers Close to Signing Victor Martinez

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.

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