Detroit Tigers: It’s time to make a splash in free-agency, sign JD Martinez

 The Detroit Tigers, in the midst of a rebuild, should pull an offseason move similar to 2005 and sign JD Martinez.

The Detroit Tigers, along with the rest of the league, have had a slow off-season. Former Detroit Tigers OF JD Martinez hasn’t signed with any team with just under a week until Spring Training. While the Boston Red Sox are the clear favorites, the market for the star outfielder is still open. The Tigers should enter the market.

Although his old team is in the midst of a rebuild, signing him makes sense. He’s in his prime, and will be good for many years. Martinez has had an OPS above .870 every season since coming to Detroit. Over the last four years, Martinez has hit more than 20 long-balls.

Martinez will be the best bat in the lineup, and can fit with the current outfield. Leonys Martin had his worst season last year, and won’t improve greatly. JaCoby Jones’ production is a huge question mark. Nicholas Castellanos moved from third base to right field.

Ideally, Martinez will play left. He used to play the position before 2015, and the transition back shouldn’t be too difficult. Detroit could slide Mikie Mahtook over to center, let Jones season in Toledo, and retain Martin as a defensive replacement.

The signing will be similar to 2005, when the Tigers inked 31-year-old right fielder Magglio Ordonez to a five-year, $75 million deal. Ordonez was one of the key pieces for the 2006 AL Championship team. He helped pave the way for future free-agent signings.

Detroit has the payroll to afford Martinez. They rank 17th in the majors at just over $118 million. That number is down $81 million from a year ago. After this season, they’ll cut another $18 million when Victor Martinez‘s contract expires.

J.D. Martinez isn’t happy with Boston’s five-year, $125 million offer, and will be looking at a heavy payday. Earlier in the off-season, it was reported he wanted a 7-year, $210 million deal.

Detroit won’t pay that. They won’t even consider it. But, they could afford him. While not ideal, payroll would only increase by $12 million after Victor Martinez becomes a free agent. There’s still plenty of room left to negotiate with other free agents or retain younger players.

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If they can negotiate him under Boston’s reported $125 million, Martinez will be an ideal candidate for the Tigers. He may help pave the way to future success.

The market for him is still open, and it’s time for Detroit to make a move.

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