In the official release from the organization on Friday morning, Tigers CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski expressed excitement over adding such a quality bat to the lineup. "We are thrilled to add a premier hitter like Victor Martinez to the Tigers organization," Dombrowski said. "Our top off-season priority was to add a proven bat in the middle of our lineup and Victor is an established .300 hitter and run producer at the major league level."
As for where Martinez will get his at-bats, the Tigers estimated that he’ll be catching 2-3 games/week, while spending most of the rest of the time at designated hitter, with maybe an occasional start at first base.
With Martinez only expected to catch around 60 games over the course of the season that in turn implies that stated incumbent Alex Avila will remain the team’s primary catcher.
Dombrowski stated on the conference call to announce the signing after the release that Avila would remain the team’s #1 catcher, and that both the Tigers and Martinez were very happy with the arrangement the two sides had planned.
Both Dombrowski and Martinez mentioned the contribution of the Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera, who made numerous calls to Martinez to help sell him on the Tigers organization. Dombrowski made sure to mention that Cabrera volunteered his services, while Martinez emphasized that Cabrera sold him on the family –style organization that the Tigers had.
Martinez also addressed the concern of his struggles at Comerica Park, where he’s hit just .225 in 169 career at-bats. He believed most of the struggles could instead be attributed to the powerful Tigers’ pitching he was facing, and less to do with the ballpark. He also quipped that he’s glad he’ll no longer be facing the Tigers’ impressive staff of arms.
The numbers would appear to back up Martinez’s claim, as he’s hit just .244 with a .722 OPS for his career against the Tigers organization, both home and away.
With the addition of Martinez, the Tigers are now one step closer to finalizing their lineup heading into the 2011 season. Dombrowski did make a point to state that the infield is now settled, at least from a roster acquisition standpoint.
However, according to Dombrowski, the Tigers are still analyzing what they’ll do with the last outfield spot, implying that at least one spot will be taken up by some combination of last year’s holdovers on the roster, including Brennan Boesch, Ryan Raburn and Casper Wells. Dombrowski would not comment on the possibility of bringing back Magglio Ordonez.