A report out of Venezuela indicates that the Tigers are close to a deal with free-agent catcher and former division foe Victor Martinez.
El Nacional reported Tuesday that Martinez has agreed to a four-year, $50 million contract to join the Tigers, who would use him at catcher, first base and designated hitter. FOXSports.com confirmed the report, though the team had not announced anything.
Martinez, a Type A free agent, would cost the Tigers a first-round Draft pick as compensation to the Red Sox. The Tigers have the No. 19 overall pick in the first round of next year’s Draft.
A switch-hitter, Martinez would give the Tigers middle-of-the-order protection from both sides of the plate, and his ability to play first would allow them to still use Alex Avila regularly behind the plate.
Martinez, who turns 32 next month, is a career .300 hitter with an .838 OPS over nine Major League seasons. The four-time All-Star came up with the Indians in 2002 and established himself as one of the premier offensive catchers in the league before getting dealt to the Red Sox at the Trade Deadline in 2009. In 2010, Martinez batted .302 with 20 homers, 32 doubles, 79 RBIs and an .844 OPS.
– Anthony Castrovince