Having watched the Indians over the years, I can say that Victor Martinez is one of the top catchers in the league. Martinez is a four time all-star. He has a great bat, fairly good power and great average, was able to improve his defense. When he left Cleveland, he was a well above average hitter, and a slightly above average defensive first baseman and catcher (his numbers don’t take into account that Cleveland pitchers have had significant issues holding runners, resulting in large jumps on the base paths).
These aren’t the reasons that Detroit got an absolute steal when they signed the 31-year old switch hitting backstop to a four year fifty million dollar deal. Martinez exuded class and leadership through every season, win or lose, with the Cleveland Indians. He was an unquestioned leader in the club house from the time he arrived to the time he was shipped off to Boston. V-Mart handled the pitching staff, a staff that was often young and inexperienced. Even though he will only be expected to play 2-3 days behind the dish during the week, he should still hold onto that role with the Tigers.
When Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore were out injured, Martinez was able to keep the Indians offense moving. He was a .300 hitter throughout it all, giving 110% on the field regardless of the standings. Now he will be hitting in front of or behind Miguel Cabrera, one of baseball’s best hitters. The Detroit Tigers got a steal by protecting their top hitter in the lineup, finding a leader for their young catcher and their pitching staff, and finding a leader for the clubhouse.
Add Martinez in with the re-signings of Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta, and the Tigers are on their way to a top-5 offense in the American League. Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers general manager said that when Magglio Ordonez went down, the Tiger lacked a bat in the middle of lineup to force opposing pitching staffs to have to pitch to Cabrera. By adding a career .300 hitter that averages about 20 home runs and 100 RBI bat in the middle of the lineup, they have that presence.
I’ll admit, they still have some issues pitching wise. Verlander can’t sustain a whole rotation, and while Gallaraga has shown flashes of brilliance, they are only flashes (4.49 ERA). Verlander himself only had a 3.37 ERA, an average ace by that measure. Verlander also had 219 Ks, a top flight starter . Max Scherzer pitched well, coming in with a 3.50 ERA and 8.46 k/9 ip. Martinez should be able to help a bit with that pitching staff, another positive to bringing him in.
After watching seven years of Victor Martinez, I can say the Detroit Tigers got a steal.
About the Author
Written by Michael Watts
Cleveland based student. A writer for Cleveland based high school news sites. Broadcaster for Cleveland Saint Ignatius High School. Avid Pens, Cavs, Tribe, and Browns fan.