This release from the Tigers this morning:
DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers today announced the club has agreed to terms with catcher/designated hitter Victor Martinez on a four-year contract, a contract that runs through the 2014 season.
Martinez batted .302 with 32 doubles, a triple, 20 home runs and 79 RBI in 127 games with the Boston Red Sox during the 2010 season. He topped all American League switch-hitters with the .302 batting average, while he was second with a .493 slugging percentage and third with a .351 on-base percentage.
“We are thrilled to add a premier hitter like Victor Martinez to the Tigers organization,” Tigers President, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager David Dombrowski said. “Our top off-season priority was to add a proven bat in the middle of our lineup and Victor is an established .300 hitter and run producer at the major league level.”
In nine seasons at the major league level with the Cleveland Indians (2002-09) and Boston Red Sox (2009-10), Martinez is hitting .300 (1120×3739) with 235 doubles, three triples, 131 home runs and 638 RBI in 1,004 games. He has hit 20-or-more home runs in five seasons, while he has collected 100-or-more RBI in three seasons during his career.
“We expect Victor to be in our lineup on a daily basis, serving primarily as our club’s designated hitter and catching two to three times a week,” Dombrowski said. “He also has the ability to fill in at first base and his versatility allows us to keep a premier bat in our lineup every day. We’ve discussed this role with Victor and both sides are very pleased with what he brings to the Tigers organization.”
Martinez has been selected to the American League All-Star team four times during his career, including both of the last two seasons. Additionally, he won the American Silver Slugger Award for catchers in 2004.
$50 million over four years is a lot of money for a DH who catches a few times a week. It will be interesting to see how it plays out for Detroit. It’s also interesting that V-Mart so quickly gave up on the idea that he had to be an everyday catcher. But as with all free-agent negotiations, money and years speak loudest.