Detroit Tigers: J.D. Martinez returning to the lineup brings new questions
When it comes to the Detroit Tigers, bad news seems to be accompanied by good news.
Earlier in the week, the Detroit Tigers announced Justin Wilson‘s new role as closer in response to Francisco Rodriguez‘s blown saves. Then, just as Jim Adduci ended up on the DL with an oblique injury, word was revealed that J.D. Martinez would be back to reprise his role in right field.
Ever so slowly, the Detroit Tigers are getting their pieces in place.
Of course, this is what the fans want and it is what the front office wants, too.
But, with J.D. Martinez joining this late in the season, there is a new question that has arisen: Where in the world does he land in the lineup?
Typically, Martinez has batted in the fifth hole, after Victor Martinez. Now that spot belongs to the super hot Justin Upton. And, since this is working for Upton, there is no reason to fix it. He needs to stay in the fifth spot.
So, there should be some other changes made to get J.D. Martinez into the lineup in a reasonable spot. Therefore, some players need to move and the return of #28 gives Brad Ausmus a perfect opportunity to tweak the lineup based on what he has seen so far in 2017.
The first three batters should stay the way they are, Ian Kinsler, Nicholas Castellanos, and Miguel Cabrera. The change should happen in the middle. It is quite clear that Victor Martinez is no longer the power hitter that he once was, so his role as the clean-up hitter is no longer appropriate. He hits singles and tends to clog up the bases – even though he is running slightly better than in previous seasons. (I don’t know about you, but I worry when he has to run with any type of speed).
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Victor Martinez should not be ahead of any players with speed. He needs to be ahead of a player who can hit him, but who does not need him to run fast. So, Justin Upton should be moved up to number four – especially with his power and speed on the bases.
Then, J.D. Martinez should land in the fifth spot, just behind Upton. There is no way that any team would consider walking Castellanos, Cabrera, or Upton to get to the next batter. It would be absolute suicide. The sixth spot could be given to Victor Martinez, who would then be followed by the catcher, center fielder, and Jose Iglesias.
Next: Will K-Rod show up on the mound?
It will be interesting to see what happens with the lineup today with the return of J.D. Martinez. Will Ausmus go with what has been happening since Jim Leyland was the decision maker? Or will Ausmus be his own man and make lineup decisions that actually make sense with the team he has?