Tigers sign Victor Martinez to a $50 million contract

Boston Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez makes a throwing error as he tries to throw out New York Yankees batter Brett Gardner at first base in the tenth inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York September 26, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

It’s official: Victor Martinez is no longer a Boston Red Sox.

The Tigers signed Martinez to a four-year, $50 million contract that wasn’t confirmed until Wednesday. With the signing, Detroit adds a middle of the order bat to their lineup and a player that hit .302 in 538 plate appearances last year for the Red Sox. He also earned a trip to the All-Star Game for the fourth time in his career.

The Red Sox had hoped to re-sign Martinez but it was clear that they weren’t going to break the bank for him. They offered him a choice of three years and $36 million or four years and $42 million, but in the end Martinez opted to go where the money was greener. The downside for Boston is that it lost even more power in its ever fleeting lineup but the Sox pick up a high draft pick as part of their compensation for losing him via free agency.

The Orioles were also reportedly interested in V-Mart and offered him a four-year, $48 million contract, while the White Sox tried to lure him to Chicago with a three-year, $48 million deal.

But the Tigers won out in the end. They’ve been arguably the biggest players in this year’s offseason, committing $39.25 million to Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta and Joaquin Benoit.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Tigers demote youngsters Scherzer, Sizemore

One day very soon, the Tigers hope starter Max Scherzer and infielder Scott Sizemore will be a part of their future core. But as of right now, the club feels as though they need more work before they can contribute on the big league level.

Both players were sent to Triple-A Toledo over the weekend in hopes that they’ll straighten out their weaknesses. Scherzer, who was acquired as part of a three-team trade that sent Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks in early December of last year, is a hard-throwing right-hander that needs to develop a second pitch. He’s lived and died by his fastball thus far in his career and it doesn’t take major league hitters long to abuse pitchers that don’t have a second pitch that they trust in.

As for Sizemore, manager Jim Leyland seems to think that the young second baseman was starting to look lost at the plate.

“It was almost like he was starting to get a little lost,” Leyland said. “He was fighting himself. You could kind of see it.

“But I think Sizemore’s gonna be fine. We still really like him.”

Baseball can be an extremely humbling game. When players are slumping, they feel as though they’ll never get another hit or have another good outing again. They start pressing, and once that happens their confidence crumbles and things start to unravel.

Hopefully both of these players gain perspective in the minors and can come back up and help the Tigers soon. Talent certainly isn’t an issue – they just need time to get their heads back on straight.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Could the Tigers release Magglio Ordonez?

Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press speculates that if Magglio Ordonez doesn’t start hitting soon, the Tigers could eventually release him this season.

It may be too early to bench or release Ordoñez , but it’s not too early to wonder about him. Here are some of Ordoñez’s numbers entering the Tigers’ game in Minnesota Tuesday night: .241 batting average, 108 at-bats, three extra-base hits, sixth in the batting order, 35 years old. I mean, the numbers could be worse. His cholesterol level could be 500. But those numbers are disturbing.

It’s not too early to ask questions. And with Ordoñez in 2009, the biggest question is this: Will he stay in the lineup?

It is a $30-million question.

At the end of this season, the Tigers will either pick up an $18-million option on Ordoñez or pay him a $3-million buyout. The Free Press Math Department tells me that’s a $15-million difference. Then there is another $15-million option for 2011.

I doubt the Tigers want to pay Ordoñez $30 million when he is 36 and 37 years old. Manager Jim Leyland has already dropped him in the lineup and started to remove him for defensive purposes. You don’t do that if a guy is worth $15 million a year.

But getting out of this contract is like getting out of the little island of Manhattan at rush hour: It seems like it should be easy, but it isn’t. Ordoñez’s agent, Scott “I know you hate me, but give me an hour and I’ll get you to pay me to hate me” Boras, negotiated trigger clauses into this deal. If Ordoñez has 135 starts or 540 plate appearances this season, his 2010 option becomes guaranteed. And if he has 270 starts or 1,080 plate appearances between this season and next, his 2011 option becomes guaranteed.

If Ordonez was hitting well, then it would be foolish for the Tigers to release him just to save money. But he’s currently one of the worst hitters on the team and as the article points out, why continue to play him so he reaches the appropriate amount of plate appearances and therefore assure that his contract is guaranteed? If he continues to struggle, why not release him and save that money so GM Dave Dombrowski can dump it into more productive players next year?

The only issue is whether or not the Tigers would be on the hook for Maggs’ salary if he reaches 135 starts or 540 plate appearances with another team. I would assume they would only be responsible for a certain amount, but I don’t know the details of his contract so I can’t answer that question.

Related Posts