It’s no secret that Detroit Tigers Victor Martinez runs the bases slower than nearly every other player with an MLB contract. But, despite this fact, rumor has it that other baseball teams are actually showing interest in him.
The Detroit Tigers DH will have his 38th birthday in December. He also has two more years with the Tigers at a whopping $18 million per year.
With his lack of speed on the bases, his fragile body, his advanced age, and the big ol’ salary, it is difficult to believe that he could be a desirable commodity.
But, according to an article by Nick Cafardo with The Boston Globe, teams are. In the article, Cafardo focuses on several teams and a variety of free agents. He offers very little in terms of who might be sniffing around at V-Mart. Instead, he compares him to Carlos Beltran and David Ortiz. According to Cafardo, V-Mart “could catch or play first base in a pinch.”
A Few Stats
Of course, Martinez had the epic 2014, but his last two seasons haven’t been anything close. In 2014, he led the league in OBP (.409) and OPS (.974). But since then, he averaged .329 OBP and .756 OPS in 2015 and 2016. He hit 32 home runs in 2014, but just a combined total of 38 in the past two years.
When it comes to Martinez playing defense “in a pinch,” those moments are few and far between. In 2015 and 2016 combined, Martinez played first base in 15 total games. That’s it. The last time he squatted behind the dish was in 2014, when he did so in 2 games and 17 innings. Honestly, I think Hell would freeze over before Martinez played catcher ever again. Especially if the rumors about his knees are true.
Replace Immobility with Athleticism
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If the Tigers are able to trade away the albatross contract that Dombrowski gave to Martinez, it would be fabulous. Unless Martinez hits the ball out of the park or as far from first base as possible, he is one of the easiest outs to get in all of baseball. His lack of athleticism hurts the Tigers more than it helps. He did score 65 runs, but he also grounded into 19 double plays. Imagine how many more runs he could have scored if he could get into scoring position or run for more than one base.
Martinez’ big bat would be missed, but his immobility would not be missed. Since Martinez can only be a DH, no National League teams will want him. And, with his enormous salary, only a few teams would actually want to pay for him. So, what teams might want V-Mart? The Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Houston Astros (remember they were courting Miguel Cabrera).
If Martinez is traded away, who would the Tigers use as a DH? Not Cabrera, who still likes to play in every inning and still can. One player who would be an interesting DH is Nick Castellanos. In all four years with the Tigers, Castellanos has had a negative dWAR, while his oWAR has always been positive. Moving Castellanos to DH would then open up a hole at third. That hole could be filled by the extremely athletic JaCoby Jones who played a solid third base in 34 innings with the Tigers in 2016.