It would be hard for anyone associated with the Detroit Tigers to argue that their best player in 2014 was not Victor Martinez.
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V-Mart will not be the league MVP, (that title is pretty much already bestowed on Mike Trout to pacify sabermetrician fan boys who thought he was “robbed” that last few seasons) but he certainly was the MVP for Detroit.
With Martinez hitting the open market as a free agent, his asking price is likely to be very high. At the age of 35, this might be Victor’s last professional baseball contract so he has motivation to take all he can get, however a report out of the Boston Globe over the weekend stated that V-Mart wants to remain a Tiger and will give the ball club the “first shot” at tendering him a contract before testing free agency waters.
V-Mart understands the situation with the Tigers expiring contacts and acknowledged in the middle of the season that while he wants to stay a Tiger he understands there is a lot at play (i.e. possible big money to Max Scherzer while Torii Hunter, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke, and others are also not signed for 2015).
Should Martinez opt for free agency, the Globe writer, Nick Cafardo stated that he wants to have “comfort of the workplace.” In other words, he would prefer to stay out of a major media market and the writer views Baltimore, Chicago, Texas, or Toronto as possible landing points.
Another possible destination would be offense-starved Seattle where V-Mart would receive the “comfort” of playing for former Tigers’ hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, who after a nine-year managerial absence took the reins of the Mariners and nearly led them to the postseason in 2014.
Tigers’ fan seem split on resigning the aging but still productive designated hitter, fearing that money spent on V-Mart would be better spent on either keeping Scherzer and/or grabbing Andrew Miller or an equivalent arm to repair the bullpen.
Still, everyone understands that if you lose the 32 homers, .335 average and .974 OPS that the Tigers’ team MVP brought to the lineup in 2014, it is hard to imagine who will step up to fill that role in 2015.