Detroit Tigers Discussed Using Victor Martinez at 3B This Season


July 21, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers first basemen Victor Martinez (41) fields a ground ball against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

According to Matthew B. Mowery of the Oakland Press, Jim Leyland had some discussions with his coaching staff regarding the possibility of Victor Martinez playing some third base when Miguel Cabrera got hurt a few weeks back. Here’s a quote from Leyland as reported on the Out of Left Field blog:

"“We talked about it in Chicago (when Cabrera first got hurt). Gene Lamont and I talked about it one night. In fact, even had Rafael Belliard tell Victor that there’s a slight, slight possibility this might happen,” Leyland said. “Miggy was OK, so there wasn’t …“But sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.”"

The Tigers haven’t used Martinez at his old position of catcher at all this year, but he’s shown some athleticism in his time at first base, and even treated us to one of the niftier defensive plays we’ve seen from the team this year.

Third base would be a whole new adventure, however, and we have no way of knowing exactly how well he could possibly perform at the hot corner. My guess is not very well, but it may have been worth it to get Miguel Cabrera into the lineup if he wasn’t able to play through the pain. It looks like it’s all behind us now because Cabrera is visibly hobbled less and less each day, but Martinez at third base would have been fun to see if only for the potential comedy.

There are few things in baseball as fun to see as players grossly out of position. Position players pitching is at the top of this list of course, but catchers in the infield (non-first base infield) is close behind. We got to see Ivan Rodriguez play a bit of second base in 2006 (if I remember correctly) and Alex Avila at third base in 2011. Seeing Victor at third would be great, but probably even better would be Brayan Pena at shortstop.