Victor Martinez signed with the Detroit Tigers, giving them a great catcher for the 2011 season. Victor Martinez finished 2010 with the Boston Red Sox, and decided to become a free agent at the end of the season.
According to ESPN, Martinez signed with Detroit on a four-year contract that will pay him $50 million. That is quite a nice pay raise for Martinez, who made just $7.7 million last season with the Red Sox. It is apparently much more than the Red Sox were willing to offer him as well, with ESPN reporting that they offered both a three-year, $36 million and four-year, $42 million contract that he could choose from. He decided against accepting either of them on Tuesday, adding yet another great bat to the evolving Detroit Tigers roster.
It seems like the Tigers are going to be the big spenders of the 2010 baseball offseason, even with two of the best players (Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford) still out on the market. It was just a few days ago that the Tigers offered first baseman Adam Dunn a big contract, proving that they are really looking to make a run at the 2011 American League Playoffs. If they are able to add Dunn to a lineup with Martinez and Miguel Cabrera in it already, they could quickly become one of the favorites to win the American League next year. That would be a potent middle-of-the-lineup for any team.
In the 2010 season, Martinez finished with a .302 batting average, 20 home runs, and 79 RBI. He was injured for a short span of time, but still recovered to post nice numbers for the season. One of his best seasons was in 2009, when he split time between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. During that year, he hit a combined .303 with 23 home runs and 108 RBI. He also walked 75 times for an impressive on-base percentage of .381 for the year. Those are great numbers for a switch-hitting catcher, and he will be an extremely valuable addition to the lineup for the Detroit Tigers.
In a division that has been a battle between the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit these past few years, the Tigers just made a statement that they are going to be trying to win in the immediate future. They will have to, because Martinez was a Type A free agent, costing them their first-round draft pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. The Boston Red Sox now retain that pick, which is expected to be part of a very deep draft class.