Representatives for free agent hitters have started calling the Tigers, who will probably play the 2012 season without one of their top offensive players. But general manager Dave Dombrowski is still digesting the news that Victor Martinez is likely out for the season with a torn ACL, and he doesn't feel the need to rush the team's next move. The GM points to the 2011 Cardinals, who lost Adam Wainwright in Spring Training but won the World Series.
"You need to be resilient," Dombrowski said on a conference call with reporters. "After you feel sorry for yourself for a day you move on, you look at all your alternatives."
If the Tigers add a bat, it would most likely be a short-term addition, Dombrowski said. The club could maneuver from within, but that would mean using Jhonny Peralta, Alex Avila or an outfielder at DH on occasion — not shifting Miguel Cabrera to third base and pursuing a first baseman. Dombrowski declined to comment on specific players, but Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez and Vladimir Guerrero are among the available free agent designated hitters.
As for Martinez, he injured his left knee late last week while doing a side to side shuffling exercise. The Tigers expect him to recover fully if he undergoes surgery, as expected. The possibility exists that he could return late in the 2012 season, but that would be a bonus, rather than anything Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland will count on.
Martinez signed a four-year, $50MM contract with the Tigers last offseason and posted a .330/.380/.470 line in his first season in Detroit. Though Martinez appeared in 26 games at catcher last year, the Tigers hadn't planned to rely on him behind the plate in 2012.