Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitterVictor Martinez
(41) at bat against the Baltimore Orioles during game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
#2. Victor Martinez-Career: .306/.373/.475, 189 HR; 2014: .331/.409/.565, 32 HR
Continuing with the theme of aging veterans who were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, Victor Martinez could be a short term fix at first base. Martinez had a career year in 2014, with career highs across the board, and is an AL MVP candidate. Without his production in the middle of their lineup, there’s a chance the Tigers would have missed the playoffs this year.
Obviously it’s unreasonable to expect another MVP-caliber season from Martinez. especially if he plays half his games at Petco Park, but he should still be very productive. Petco might not hurt him all that much, because he’s always been a great doubles hitter, averaging 38 a year, and the spacious outfield should reward him.
With a year like he had last year the price tag will be high, but his age will help lower a bit. The biggest advantage to Martinez being 35 is he won’t demand a long contract. Most long term free agent deals end up being mess in the latter half, but with Martinez the Padres will likely only need a 2 year deal to compete with the other offers out there. If the new Padres ownership is serious about wanting to win opening their checkbooks on a short term deal with Martinez is one of the ways they can show that commitment.
His defense at first may be a question mark. He’s played 198 games over the course of his career including 35 games in 2014. While he won’t win a gold glove, he knows how to play the position and won’t kill the team defensively.
Like LaRoche this can’t be the only the team makes. Martinez may be able to shoulder the load on offense if he puts up anywhere close to the kind of year he had in 2014, but he’s only one guy. Convincing him to want to play in San Diego will also be a challenge, but a fat check and the beautiful weather could be all he needs.