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Grading The Deal: Victor Martinez Re-Signs With Tigers For $68M

By Scott McCourtney

The Detroit Tigers have officially announced that Victor Martinez has re-signed with the team for $68 million over four years, ending his free agent status quickly. Martinez will make $14 million in 2015 and $18 million annually over the following three years.

Martinez has a parcel no-trade clause in the contract, meaning he can list up to ten teams to which he does not want to be traded. He will also have the right to block any trade as a 10-year veteran after the 2015 season because he will have been with the Tigers for a minimum of five years.

The Tigers are keeping the power-hitting designated hitter in the middle of their lineup after he finished second in the AL MVP race this past season. The 35-year-old and five-time All-Star didn't seem likely to go anywhere else after hitting .335 with 32 home runs and 103 RBIs.

"I'm just real excited for this great opportunity to get my dream complete, which is winning a World Series," Martinez told ESPN. "I have never been on a team like this."

Grade for Martinez: B+

Martinez is hungry for a ring and maybe that is why he took less in 2015 and beyond than Miguel Cabrera ($22 million) and Justin Verlander ($28 million). Martinez was one of the top free agents along with Jon Lester, Hanley Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton and Detroit teammate Max Scherzer. Stanton signed the largest contract in baseball history, making one wonder what Martinez could have gotten on the open market if he tested the waters extensively (despite the quick agreement, the Mariners were reportedly in advanced talks with his representatives).

Although Joe Mauer was younger at the time, you could compare Martinez to the Minnesota catcher's $184 million deal that stemmed from similar MVP numbers. You might think that Martinez left significant money on the table, but Mauer was 27 when he signed that eight-year deal with the Twins. Martinez will turn 35 next month.

Martinez has never played a full season, but part of that is because of the wear and tear he endured as a catcher. He has, however, missed games due to injury in each season with the Tigers, including the entire 2012 season because of a knee injury. Martinez has played in 145 or more games in the last two seasons though. He is either at his peak or could be in his decline.

No matter how you slice it, the Venezuelan got paid. Maybe not as much as he should have but he wanted to stay with a contender. That may leave some room for the Tigers to re-sign Scherzer or someone else to help get Detroit its first World Series title since 1984.

Grade for the Tigers: A-

The only reason the Tigers get an A- instead of an A is because Martinez could be at the peak of his career. However, he has produced every year with Detroit and hasn't hit below .300 since 2009 when he only played 99 games for Cleveland. He has also hit over ten home runs and had over 70 RBIs in every healthy season since 2009. He has an average of 40 or more walks and 30 or more doubles over that same span.

You could argue that the Tigers deserve an A+ for the deal as long as Martinez stays healthy and puts up anything close to the numbers he has since joining the team in 2011, but at $15-18 million it's a low-risk gamble when you look at Mauer and even Andre Ethier's contract.

The Tigers gave a lot of money to Cabrera and Verlander and they will need to throw a lot of money at Scherzer to keep him in Detroit. They are not going to re-sign Hunter even after he put up good numbers in both years (2013: .304 17 HR 84 RBI, 2014: .286 17 HR 83 RBI). The Tigers will have to find a replacement unless the want to give Steven Moya a chance (.276 with 35 HR 105 RBI in AA).

This contract could backfire if Martinez has reached his peak but as a designated hitter and proven hitter throughout his career, he should be the Big Papi of the Tigers.


Complete List Of 2015 MLB Free Agents

By RealGM Staff Report

The San Francisco Giants have barely had time to finish celebrating their third World Series victory in five years and free agency is already upon us. Below is a list of all of baseball's free agents and their age. Once agreements are made, we'll up date the list to include each player's club.

Catchers

J.P. Arencibia (29)
John Buck (34)
Ryan Doumit (34)
Chris Gimenez (32)
Nick Hundley (31
Gerald Laird (35)
Russell Martin (32)
Wil Nieves (36)
A.J. Pierzynski (38)
David Ross (38)
Geovany Soto (32)

First Basemen

Daric Barton (29)
Billy Butler (29)
Mike Carp (29)
Michael Cuddyer (36)
Corey Hart (33)
Adam LaRoche (35)
Mike Morse (33)
Lyle Overbay (38)
Carlos Pena (37)
Mark Reynolds (32)

Second Basemen

Emilio Bonifacio (30)
Mark Ellis (38)
Rafael Furcal (37)
Jonathan Herrera (30)
Brandon Hicks (29)
Kelly Johnson (33)
Ramon Santiago (35)
Rickie Weeks (32)
Josh Wilson (34)

Shortstops

Clint Barmes (36)
Asdrubal Cabrera (29)
Stephen Drew (32)
Jonathan Herrera (30)
Jed Lowrie (31)
John McDonald (40)
Hanley Ramirez (31)

Third Basemen

Alberto Callaspo (32)
Jack Hannahan (35)
Chase Headley (31)
Kelly Johnson (33)
Donnie Murphy (32)
Chris Nelson (29)
Hanley Ramirez (31)
Mark Reynolds (32)
Pablo Sandoval (28)

Left Fielders

Melky Cabrera (30)
Mike Carp (29)
Endy Chavez (37)
Tyler Colvin (29)
Nelson Cruz (34)
Chris Denorfia (34)
Cole Gillespie (30)
Jonny Gomes (34)
Tony Gwynn Jr. (32)
Scott Hairston (35)
Reed Johnson (38)
Jason Kubel (33)
Ryan Ludwick (36)
Nyjer Morgan (34)
Mike Morse (33)
Alfonso Soriano (39)
Josh Willingham (36)
Chris B. Young (31)
Delmon Young (29)

Center Fielders

Emilio Bonifacio (30)
Endy Chavez (37)
Nyjer Morgan (34)
Colby Rasmus (28)
Chris B. Young (31)

Right Fielders

Nori Aoki (33)
Endy Chavez (37)
Tyler Colvin (29)
Nelson Cruz (34)
Michael Cuddyer (36)
Chris Denorfia (34)
Scott Hairston (35)
Torii Hunter (39)
Nick Markakis (31)
Alex Rios (34)
Nate Schierholtz (31)
Ichiro Suzuki (41)
Yasmany Tomas (24)
Chris B. Young (31)

Designated Hitters

Billy Butler (29)
Ryan Doumit (34)
Adam Dunn (35)
Jason Giambi (44)
Jonny Gomes (34)
Corey Hart (33)
Raul Ibanez (42)
Jason Kubel (33)
Victor Martinez (35)
Kendrys Morales (31)
Delmon Young (29)

Starting Pitchers

Brett Anderson (27)
Scott Baker (33)
Chad Billingsley (30)
A.J. Burnett (38)
Chris Capuano (36)
Bruce Chen (38)
Kevin Correia (34)
Gavin Floyd (32)
Jason Hammel (32)
Aaron Harang (37)
Roberto Hernandez (34)
Josh Johnson (31)
Kyle Kendrick (30)
Hiroki Kuroda (40)
Jon Lester (31)
Colby Lewis (35)
Francisco Liriano (31)
Paul Maholm (33)
Justin Masterson (30)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (34)
Brandon McCarthy (31)
Brad Mills (29)
Franklin Morales (29)
Brandon Morrow (30)
Felipe Paulino (31)
Jake Peavy (34)
Wandy Rodriguez (36)
Ervin Santana (32)
Joe Saunders (34)
Max Scherzer (30)
James Shields (33)
Misael Siverio (24)
Kevin Slowey (31)
Carlos Villanueva (31)
Ryan Vogelsong (37)
Edinson Volquez (30)
Randy Wolf (38)
Chris Young (36)

Closers

Jason Grilli (38)
Casey Janssen (33)
David Robertson (30)
Francisco Rodriguez (33)
Sergio Romo (32)
Rafael Soriano (35)

Right-Handed Relievers

Mike Adams (36)
Matt Albers (32)
Burke Badenhop (32)
Andrew Bailey (31)
Matt Belisle (34)
Heath Bell (37)
Jared Burton (34)
Joba Chamberlain (29)
Jesse Crain (34)
Kyle Farnsworth (39)
Jason Frasor (38)
Kyuji Fujikawa (34)
Luke Gregerson (31)
Matt Guerrier (36)
Luke Hochevar (31)
Jim Johnson (32)
Matt Lindstrom (35)
Jeff Manship (30)
Nick Masset (33)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (34)
Dustin McGowan (32)
Jason Motte (33)
Pat Neshek (34)
Juan Carlos Oviedo (33)
Chris Perez (29)
Sergio Santos (31)
Kevin Slowey (31)
Tim Stauffer (32)
Jose Veras (34)
Jamey Wright (40)

Left-Handed Relievers

Joe Beimel (38)
Craig Breslow (34)
Sean Burnett (32)
Phil Coke (32)
Neal Cotts (35)
Scott Downs (39)
Zach Duke (32)
Tom Gorzelanny (32)
Andrew Miller (30)
Franklin Morales (29)
Josh Outman (30)
Joe Thatcher (33)

 

This list was put together using the tremendous resource that is MLB Trade Rumors.


2014 ALDS Preview & Predictions

By Andrew Perna

The Kansas City Royals set the playoff field in the American League on Tuesday night with a dramatic extra-inning victory over the Oakland Athletics. The division series kick off on Thursday with the Royals traveling to Los Angeles to take on the Angels and the Baltimore Orioles hosting the Detroit Tigers.

Tigers vs. Orioles

The Orioles will host this series because they were six wins better than the Tigers over the course of the regular season. Detroit won five of the six games the two clubs played in 2014, but all six of the contests came within the first seven weeks of the season. The Tigers will have to win at least one game at Camden Yards to advance to the ALCS, but all the stats are in their favor.

Detroit had stiffer competition in the AL Central, having held off the Royals, who remain alive, while Baltimore ran away with the AL East. That's not necessarily a knock on Buck Showalter's club, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox had down years and Baltimore was the class of the division. The Tigers, meanwhile, traded for David Price at the deadline and still nearly coughed up the division title down the stretch.

The Tigers bested the Orioles in OPS (.757 to .734), runs per game (4.7 to 4.4), quality starts (90 to 78) and strikeouts per nine innings (7.70 to 7.23) this season. Baltimore's pitching staff had the better ERA (3.43 to 4.01) by a wide margin.

It's no secret that pitching has become the name of the game and in a five-game series who you throw out on the mound is vital. The Tigers will trot out Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Price and Rick Porcello over the first four games, while Showalter has only committed to starting Chris Tillman in the series opener.

Baltimore is expected to use some combination of Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez over the remainder of the ALDS.

For the first time in Major League history, a team will start the three AL Cy Young winners from the past three seasons over the first three games of a series. Scherzer, Verlander and Price are the reason why it will be hard for the Orioles, who have had a great season, to reach the next level.

Even Porcello, Detroit's "weakest" postseason starter has the numbers in his favor. The right-hander started twice against the Orioles this season, recording a 1.42 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in 12.2 innings (both victories).

Prediction: Tigers in 4

 

Royals vs. Angels

The Royals are easily the best story of the 2014 postseason. Not only did they end a postseason drought that lasted nearly three decades, but they also rallied multiple times against the Athletics in the Wild Card game to ensure a longer playoff appearance.

Kansas City faces an entirely different beast in the Angels, who ran away from the Athletics in the AL West thanks to a strong second-half and Oakland's stumbles. Los Angeles finished the regular season with 98 wins, most in all of baseball. At 52-29, they also had the best home mark in the sport. The two clubs faced off six times, just as the Tigers-Orioles, but this matchup was much less one-sided. Each team won three times with all the contests coming before the All-Star break.

The Angels were much better offensively in the regular season, posting a better OPS (.728 to .690), hitting more home runs (155 to a MLB-low 95) and averaging more runs per game (4.8 to 4.0). The only real offensive advantage the Royals have is once they get on base. Kansas City led baseball with 153 stolen bases and flashed that skill against Oakland on Tuesday night. Los Angeles swiped just 81 bags in 2014.

Ned Yost enjoyed a slightly better pitching staff in terms of ERA (3.51 to 3.58), but Mike Scioscia's group was better at recording strikeouts (8.15 per nine to 7.25). Both starting rotations are significant question marks entering the series and while the Royals might have the edge in the bullpen, the Angels simply have too good a lineup not to end KC's magical run.

Predictions: Angels in 4

 

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