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Victor Martinez likely out for the season with torn ACL

Jan 17, 2012, 3:33 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers Getty Images

Detroit’s status as the AL Central favorites has taken a big hit before the Tigers even arrived at spring training, as designated hitter/catcher Victor Martinez suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during offseason conditioning.

No decision has been yet made regarding surgery, but if Martinez needs to go under the knife he’d likely miss the entire 2012 season.

Alex Avila is entrenched as the Tigers’ starting catcher and Martinez was unlikely to be more than an emergency option behind the plate anyway, so certainly replacing a designated hitter is much easier than replacing a catcher. He hit .330 with 12 homers, 40 doubles, and an .850 OPS in 145 games last season and is a career .303 hitter with an .840 OPS.

Some potential fill-in options include Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Casey Kotchman, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui, but it’s unclear how much room the Tigers have in their payroll–or what their insurance situation is like–and Martinez is under contract for $13 million this season, $13 million in 2013, and $12 million in 2014.

  1. phukyouk - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    in theory cant the tigers take the 13 Mil they were going to pay Vmart that they will get from insurance and put it towards another guy for one season? obviously this is assuming that they have him insured.

    • kopy - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      In theory, yes. But the Tigers were probably (I’m guessing) already in line to take a small luxury hit, and adding a new bat would make them greater givers of revenue sharing even if they have the money to pay the new guy.

      That said, I would think they are in too much of a “win now” mode to not do something about this. The Tigers have been operating at a loss for a few years now, and it wouldn’t make sense to get gun shy now that the division is theirs to lose.

      • phukyouk - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        no… but the Vmart money does not count if hes on the DL more than 60 days, right? so if they sign somone for say… 8 Mil they actually SAVE $5, am i wrong about this?

  2. phillieschamps2012 - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Detroit should pick up Raul Ibanez as their DH. He still has good power and can be had on the cheap. I project him to have a bounce back year at the plate average wise.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      That’s a smart projection. Most players batting averages trend upward as they turn 40 years old. I project he’ll hit 65 homers and flirt with .400

      • phillieschamps2012 - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM

        Hahahahahahahaha!!! I have no response.

  3. cmutimmah - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Ibanez is not an option. I expect they will pull up Strieby to DH (and showcase for a possible trade) and if he doesn’t work out they will make a move.

    Don’t forget that Raburn is basically a DH because he’s brutal in the field… They are going to have to sign someone though, they still don’t have a legit starting 2B or 3B. (If you say Inge and Raburn, I’ll vomit all over you.)

    • shaggylocks - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      Yikes. Now I’m nervous to say anything at all about the holes in the Tigers’ lineup. This is one of my favorite shirts, after all.

      • cmutimmah - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        They don’t have infielders, but they are linked to Cespedes in talks… What holes could you possibly speak of? lol

        On the hook the next two years with Vmart or I would be pining for them to go after Prince Fielder…

  4. cmutimmah - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Oh crap… what about Man Ram? There’s a history of discussions of him… but from the sounds of it the tigers can’t wait 50 games…

  5. bozosforall - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Sad to hear about this. I was looking forward to VMart making the Red Sox look like idiots all over again for not keeping him around.

    • shaggylocks - Jan 17, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Now they just look smart for anticipating that he’ll have knee issues as he gets older. Damn you, V-Mart, for refusing to conform to my preconceived narrative!

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        Are you saying the Red Sox *shouldn’t* pay $13 million for a backup DH? That just crazy talk.

    • Detroit Michael - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Considering the size of the contract and the fact that he was already mostly just a DH, I think there’s almost no chance that the Red Sox look like idiots for not matching what the Tigers paid for him. That was true before this injury.

    • Ari Collins - Jan 17, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      Late to the pile-on, but:

      Boston had no place for him whatsoever. They saved themselves $50MM by not re-signing him, and also got two draft picks, one of them fairly high.

    • JBerardi - Jan 17, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      At least the rest of us still get to enjoy Jesus Montero making the Yankees look dumb.

  6. niubears - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I bet there is a certain GM on the North Side of Chicago itching to pay someone to get rid of an ideal DH.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      Well, like the drunk who’s been cut off by the last bar in town that will serve him, it’s only up from here for Adam Dunn. Right???

      • natstowngreg - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM

        Except that Dunn plays for the team on the South Side of Chicago. Perhaps the North Side player in question is A. Soriano?

      • thefalcon123 - Jan 18, 2012 at 9:38 AM

        You’d think getting married in, spending every Christmas in and making a couple of random trips to Chicago every year, I would have learned the difference between north and south side. You’d be wrong, I am this stupid.

  7. thom4msu - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    That just blows donkey, plain & simple.

  8. cmutimmah - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Agree… considering teams were able to get guys like Thome, Vlad, etc to DH for much much cheaper, Vmart is quite the luxury.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Manny to the Motor City?

  10. squish03 - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Speaking of Vlad, why isn’t he on the revolving list of names for teams needing DH’s (Yankees, Tigers, etc…). It’s always Pena, Damon, Matsui. Is there a reason for the omission?

  11. steveoeducation - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    There’s no way they can fully replace VMart, but they already have a plug-in DH in Delmon Young. Use his bat, get him off the field and find somebody who can cover that vast left field in Comerica Park.

  12. tcostant - Jan 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Prince Fielder, could the PF Flyer be going north?

  13. weaselpuppy - Jan 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Word is from some connected Tigers writers is VMart’s insurance pays for $6.5mm of his salary in this instance….

    Man Ram won’t happen

    Speculation is that Cespedes bidding will get stronger

    As a Tigs fan, my short list is bringing Carlos Pena back home as #1 option, Derek Lee #2 and Abreu #3….

    Delmon is a born DH and you could see him there, Raburn to LF and sign a platoon partner for Santiago signed….say Keppinger or Theriot

  14. foreverchipper10 - Jan 17, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    This is a big, big loss for Detroit. It is a very good thing Avila emerged last year so they only have to replace him as a DH rather than a catcher. I expect them to act quickly in finding a replacement. One of those DH names will land in the Motor City.

  15. JBerardi - Jan 17, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Tough break for any team, and even more so for the Tigers who have such a top-heavy lineup. It’s not just the quality of the hitter they’re losing, it’s the quality of the hitter that’s forced into the lineup to cover that absence. And yes, they could make a move, but then that’s resources that now can’t be used elsewhere.

    Not good for Detroit. Might be Cleveland’s year.

  16. weaselpuppy - Jan 17, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    The resources thing is simply whether Illitch wants to pocket the $6.5m in insurance money, or spend it on a 1 yr deal to backfill (and he has never shyed away from spending)…he’ll find a bat for $8-11m on 1 yr out of the pool that’s there of Pena/Lee/Abreu etc…. It would be best if looking for a multi year to sign a LF bat that can take over for DY2 as he exits after this coming season.

  17. kwazimoto8 - Jan 17, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Wonder how Maglio’s ankle is doin? Would at least give him a look. When he was right, 300+ hitter.

  18. Chris K - Jan 17, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    This just means I’ll be able to draft him easier in 2013

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