All Detroit Tigers’ fans eyes will be on Pensacola, Florida Tuesday afternoon as Victor Martinez will undergo knee surgery. Depending on the procedure that takes place V-Mart could miss as little as six weeks or as much as half the season.
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This uncertainty has prompted the Detroit Tigers to reach out to other clubs about possible trade candidates should the worst case transpire tomorrow.
The first reported case of the team kicking the tires is in regard to the Toronto Blue Jays backup catcher and designated hitter Dioner Navarro. According to Jeff Blair of Toronto Sportsnet, these Detroit Tigers trade rumors have them inquiring about the price of Navarro.
Navarro was Toronto’s primary catcher in 2014, his first year as a Blue Jay. Russell Martin was a big named free agent acquisition for Toronto this offseason relegating the 11-year veteran to backup work behind the dish and as DH.
In 139 games last year he hit .274 with 12 homers and a .712 OPS. A journeyman since the start of his career in 2004, the 31-year old has spent time with the Yankees, Dodgers, Rays, Dodgers again, Reds and Cubs before heading north of the border via a two-year, $8 million deal signed before last season. His price tag this year would be $5 million.
It is reported the Blue Jays would be asking for pitching back, which would mean some of the starter/relievers on the cusp of the major leagues, such as Kyle Ryan, Kyle Lobstein and Buck Farmer might be trade bait.
Last season the Tigers overreacted to the loss of Jose Iglesias and made two questionable moves to bring in Andrew Romine and Alex Gonzalez late in Spring Training. Gonzalez was gone before the end of April and Romine eventually won the shortstop job over former Tiger Eugenio Suarez.
It is doubtful the Tigers make this, or any other deal, if Martinez can possibly be back for Opening Day. If the cartilage in his left knee can be trimmed, rehab time can be as little as 4-6 weeks (although this timetable is often uncertain as some players have come back before this timetable and others later).
Worst case will occur if the cartilage needs to be repaired. This means V-Mart would be on crutches for a month with full recovery in 12-16 weeks.
Keep in mind that Navarro has never played any other position on the field, so if they are considering using him at first base while Miguel Cabrera continues to heal (as was the plan with Martinez before the injury), it’s not going to happen.
Time will tell, but should it be worst case the Tigers would probably be better served to stand pat and replace from within rather than add a journeyman third-string catcher.