The Detroit Tigers have agreed to re-sign designated hitter Victor Martinez, reports said Wednesday.
Martinez will be given a four-year, $68 million deal, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. Martinez's $17 million annual average value is the largest ever for a designated hitter. He will be kept under contract through 2018, his age-39 season. The deal is pending a physical.
Many believed that the Tigers would be unable to retain the main cog in their lineup in Martinez, considering his phenomenal 2014 campaign and Detroit's large payroll. But the Tigers want to win and win now. Keeping Martinez, they obviously feel, will help them win in 2015 and hopefully beyond.
The 35-year-old Martinez was signed by the Cleveland Indians in 1996 out of Venezuela. He became their No. 1 catcher during the early part of his career. From 2004 to 2007, Martinez posted an .860 OPS with the Indians. His great offense and on-base skills have always been with him throughout his career.
Martinez was flipped to the Red Sox in the deal that sent Justin Masterson to Cleveland. He spent about a year and a half with Boston, before being granted free agency, where he signed with the Tigers on a four-year, $50 million pact, which has really paid off for Detroit.
This past season, Martinez hit .335/.409/.565 with 32 home runs and 103 runs batted in over 641 plate appearances. Martinez was named to his fifth career All-Star Game and won the Silver Slugger award.
The Tigers will be putting a lot of payroll into three players. They now have $470 million committed to Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Martinez though the 2023 season, leading many to believe that they will be taking the same road the Philadelphia Phillies have taken with signing old veterans.
The Tigers want to win now and they definitely have proved that. But, thinking about the future is not the worst thing to do either. Martinez will get to stay with Detroit and perhaps with another championship on a new lucrative deal. The question is whether or not this signing hurts the Tigers majorly down the road.