The Tigers officially added a middle of the order bat, signing catcher Victor Martinez to a four-year, $50MM contract. Martinez was widely regarded as the best offensive catcher available, though he may see significant time as Detroit's designated hitter. He'll earn $12MM in 2011, $13MM in 2012-13 and $12MM in 2014.
Martinez, 32 next month, hit .302/.351/.493 in 538 plate appearances for the Red Sox this year, earning his fourth All-Star nod. As a switch-hitter, Martinez provides the left side protection the Tigers craved. He also logged 904 innings behind the plate, a number that should decrease in Detroit due to the presence of Alex Avila.
Though the Red Sox hoped to re-sign Martinez, reportedly offering him a choice of three years and $36MM or four years and $42MM. They can take solace in receiving the best available draft pick as part of their compensation. The Tigers must surrender their #19 draft pick next year to the Red Sox, unless Detroit also signs Jayson Werth later. In that case the Red Sox would get the Tigers' second-round pick. Regardless, the Red Sox will also receive a supplemental draft pick.
According to Ignacio Serrano of El Nacional, who broke the story, Martinez turned down a four-year, $48MM offer from the Orioles and a three-year, $48MM contract from the White Sox. MLBTR has learned that the White Sox in fact offered $48MM over four years. Martinez is represented by Octagon.
The Tigers have been baseball's most aggressive team this offseason. Prior to the Martinez agreement, they committed $39.25MM to Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, and Joaquin Benoit. In a November 10th poll, three of five MLBTR writers correctly predicted Martinez would sign with the Tigers.