Today, a bit over a month before pitchers and catchers report, we found out that Victor Martinez tore his ACL and will most likely miss the entire 2012 season.
I read the news on Twitter while at work today and think I handled the news as well as I could. First, I screamed the f-word for about five minutes straight in the office. Then I made several “I hate everything” texts to some fellow Tiger fans. Next, I went upstairs and threatened to fire a cook for some stupid reason. After that, I called my bartender a dumb whore. Don’t worry…they’re used to it.
And now, my stages of grief progression has reached the “What do we do now?” portion of development. The obvious thing to do is sign one of the remaining free agents out there to replace V-Mart as the DH. And the following is a look at who’s available and other possible solutions.
Also, real quick, keep in mind that Prince Fielder is not an option. They don’t have $20 million to throw at Cecil’s boy. Also, Lynn Henning tweeted that the team will get back around half of Victor’s $13 million salary from their insurance company. So there’s a little bit of money to play with here for a short term option.
FREE AGENTS TO REPLACE MARTINEZ & 2011 STATS
(In order of my personal preference)
1. Vladmir Guerrero: .290/.317/.416, 13 HR, 63 RBI, 101 OPS+
Vlad’s numbers were down last year in Baltimore’s crappy lineup, but he was still quite impressive in 2010 with Texas. Put him in a lineup with Cabrera, Avila, Young, and Peralta and I think you’d see much better results than those of Vlad the Oriole. Just don’t expect him to take a pitch. He and Delmon would get along well. Would probably cost $6-8 million for a season.
2. Carlos Pena: .225/.357/.462, 28 HR, 80 RBI, 123 OPS+
Many might object to a homecoming for the former Tiger first baseman due to his low batting average, but the guy still consistently gets on base and led the league in homers as recently as 2009. He could also spell Cabrera at first from time to time and keep the big man rested. Expect to pay $8-10 million for a year of Pena.
3. Magglio Ordonez: .255/.303/.331, 5 HR, 32 RBI, 74 OPS+
Yes, I know this is a homer pick because I worship the man and can’t stand the thought of him playing anywhere else. And agreed, he has had the last two seasons cut short by breaking his ankle. And I KNOW, his power is gone. But I refuse to admit that he doesn’t have another good season left in him so BACK OFF, ASSBAGS. Be happy I didn’t put him first. Could probably had at a bargain, say $3-4 million for one last season?
4. JD Drew: .222/.315/.302, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 68 OPS+
Drew was hurt most of last year, but hit over 20 homers in 2009 and 2010. When healthy, he’s a 3.0 WAR player (like Victor) and can play some outfield and keep Delmon out of the field. He isn’t going to command the $14 million he’s made the past few years…probably closer to $6 million. If he still wants to play. The guy has never seemed to care much which will upset a big part of the “rah rah” loving Tiger fanbase.
5. Johnny Damon: .261/.326/.418, 16 HR, 73 RBI, 110 OPS+
I like Johnny. He’s a great dugout presence and I think Austin Jackson missed him DEARLY last year as a mentor. But I don’t Johnny’s the guy we want replacing Victor since we need a hitter with more pop to protect Cabrera in the lineup. Damon would have his moments, but we’d have to resort to batting Peralta or Raburn behind MIg and Cabby would end up walking 200+ times. Johnny will want $5 million or so. But we need a more intimidating bat.
6. Cody Ross: .240/.325/.405, 14 HR, 52 RBI, 105 OPS+
Another former Tiger that’s available. Cody turned into a mild success story after being traded by Detroit in 2004 for a bag of magic beans. He may have some juice left and would probably cost around $6 million. Thing is, I despise people named Cody. Worst name ever.
7. Yoenis Cespedes: No Major League experience.
I don’t think he’s ready and I think he’s going to be a strikeout machine. We have enough of those and he’s going to cost a fortune. I may be the only Tiger fan that is praying for the Marlins to overpay him to stay out of Detroit. But his potential still has many drooling over him.
8. Rick Ankiel: .239/.296/.363, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 81 OPS+
Not the most attractive choice. But he could get Delmon out of left and make Will Leitch a Tigers fan. Would be cheap, too, at around $1.5 million.
9. Carlos Guillen: .232/.265/.368, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 71 OPS+
Good gawd, has it come to this? Thanks for the memories, Carlos, but we’d probably be better off letting Victor play on crutches. If he gets $1 million to sit on the DL all year, he should consider himself lucky.
10. Manny Ramirez: .059/.059/.056, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 OPS+
In his prime, there was no one this side of Barry Bonds more intimidating that ManRam. But age and suspensions have taken away his luster. Manny hasn’t been good since 2008 and anyone that takes a chance on him will probably get burned. Plus, he's nuts. Then again, Leyland has handled crazy folks well in the past. See Bonds, Sheffield, Ilitch, etc. Manny’ll work cheap, though. Probably at $1-3 million.
Other available clowns that I have no interest in include Hideki Matsui, Jonny Gomes, Raul Ibanez, Austin Kearns, Milton Bradley, Brad Hawpe, Jorge Posada, and Juan Pierre. If they even DISCUSS Juan Pierre, I will become a Blue Jays fan and rename this blog “Where Have You Gone, Kelly Gruber?”. Hope Eno doesn’t sue.
Longshots: Dmitri Young and Gary Sheffield. The former wants to attempt a comeback and we’re already paying the latter. Plus, I need comedy material. These guys would be perfect.
There are other possibilities, too.
-Do nothing. Move Delmon to DH and put Ryno in left. Hope the rest of the AL Central continues to suck and wait for the trade deadline to get a bat.
-Make a trade. I’m not even going to get into speculation here.
-Move Delmon to DH, Ryno to left, and acquire a second baseman or third baseman. Trouble is, no one is available and every trade the Tigers have apparently explored would require them to empty the farm system for someone that’s not worth the price.
Whatever happens, the offseason got a LOT more interesting today. I hope you jerks that were whining are all happy.
Oh, and in other news, the Tigers signed Don Kelly back for $900K in 2011. Imagine being terrible at your job and getting paid almost a million dollars to do so. That, my friends, is the true American Dream. I salute you, Donnie!
/raises middle finger