No need, immediately, to get this Victor Martinez matter settled. The Tigers have their 35-year-old slugging machine under contract through the end of this season, which means May is not exactly bumping against any renewal deadlines. But it is possible the Tigers will want a hitter so extraordinary and vital to the middle of their batting order to be theirs for the next couple of seasons and not deal with the complications that could follow this autumn. Martinez slammed another home run in Thursday’s game, a 6-2 loss to the Astros at Comerica Park. He ripped an 0-and-2 fastball, which is the same count and pitch he blasted for a home run the previous night when he whipped a heater near his shoulders into the left-field seats. He is hitting .333. He has seven home runs. He is seven months from 36. He can also play first base and can still work as catcher. Do the Tigers want, even now, to court possibilities Martinez will compete for a batting championship and suddenly be staring at a fat free-agent check following this season? Do they want to take their chances replacing him with an expensive hired gun ahead of 2015? Would they have enough trust in Nick Castellanos and his development to think of him as the bat they need behind Miguel Cabrera? Or, do the Tigers bide their time and exercise their percentage shot at retaining Martinez for at least 2015 by making him a free-agent qualifying offer ($14.1 million last season) that is sure to rise this autumn and could easily entice Martinez to stick with Detroit for another year? The qualifying offer would protect the Tigers in two ways: Martinez could accept and the Tigers would have a year to enjoy Martinez with the same qualifying-offer rights following the 2015 season. Or, if he were to sign elsewhere after the Tigers had offered heavy cash for 2015, Detroit would get a first-round pick in next year’s draft.
Tigers should work to re-sign Victor Martinez, sooner the better
Detroit News | May 9