Tigers re-sign Victor Martinez to four-year deal

The deal had reportedly been agreed to several days ago, but the Tigers made it official Friday afternoon: Victor Martinez is coming back to Detroit.

The Tigers signed Martinez, who will turn 36 in December, to a four-year deal. CBS Sports reported the contract is worth $68 million. They will announce the deal at a 3 p.m. ET news conference that can be viewed live on MLB.com.

“Victor is one of the premier hitters in the league and we are thrilled that he will continue his career in a Tigers uniform,” Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. “His production in the middle of our lineup and veteran leadership are invaluable to our ballclub.”

It was hardly a secret that re-signing Martinez was the Tigers’ top priority this offseason, as he was one of the best available hitters on the free-agent market, fits a clear need and enjoyed a great deal of success with the Tigers. Likewise, Martinez made it clear at the end of the season that he wanted to remain.

So, a deal quickly came together early in the offseason.

If Martinez is indeed making $68 million over the course of his contract, he will be the highest-paid full-time designated hitter in Major League history at $17 million per year.

Detroit now has Martinez, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Ian Kinsler and Anibal Sanchez signed to guaranteed contracts through at least 2017, with those five set to make $103.8 million in 2016 and $100.8 million in ’17. That’s a huge chunk of their payroll committed to aging players, but in the short-term, they’ve kept together most of a perennial postseason contender.

“Victor’s presence both on the field and in the clubhouse is an essential part of this club,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said in a statement. “I have never seen a hitter more focused in the batter’s box than Victor, and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome him back.”

Martinez is coming off the best season of his career at age 35, having hit .335/.409/.565 with 32 homers and 103 RBIs in 151 games. He recently finished second to Angels outfielder Mike Trout in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s American League MVP voting.

-Adam Berry

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