Luckily, the 2017 Detroit Tigers season is mercifully ending in a week. There are only six games remaining and then this season can (hopefully) be forgotten. This season saw just about everything possible for the Tigers. Long losing streaks, injuries, and the trading of superstars. Essentially, it is the year where the most recent era of Detroit Tigers baseball ended.
On August 31st, long-time staple Justin Verlander was traded to the contending Houston Astros. Thus, Detroit Tigers baseball as we know it has ended. The team is going in a new direction, they are getting younger, and for a while, it may not be pretty.
However, one decision Al Avila is going to have to make this offseason is what do the Tigers do with their aging designated hitter, Victor Martinez. The answer seems to be clear, especially with recent revelations from The Detroit Free Press’ Anthony Fenech —but we’ll get to those in a minute.
Here’s why the Tigers should not bring Victor Martinez back.
His age and steady decline –
Entering Spring Training this next season, Martinez will be 39 years old and is coming off of heart surgery for an irregular heartbeat — something that ended his dismal 2017 campaign. This season was the lowest amount of games he played in since 2008 when he notched 72 games for the Cleveland Indians.
First and foremost, we at DSN want Victor to be healthy. But, just because we wish him the best in life, doesn’t mean we need him suiting up for our team.
This season he constantly complained about the dimensions of our home field, Comerica Park, seemingly making excuses for his lack of power. Rather than accepting the issue that maybe he just doesn’t have it anymore, he blamed someone else. This season, in 392 ABs, Martinez hit .255/.324/.355 with just 10 home runs and 47 RBIs. Not good numbers for a man who spent most of those at-bats in the cleanup spot. Maybe this lack of accepting responsibility speaks to a much bigger issue with Martinez, his pure sense of entitlement, as documented by Fenech.
Martinez is no leader in the clubhouse –
For a club that traded away the face of its franchise, a deep hole was opened in the leadership department. However, based on his actions in the clubhouse and during a brawl with the Yankees, Martinez clearly isn’t the guy to fill that void.
During the fight with the Yankees, it was clear that Martinez was going after Verlander after James McCann was hit in the head by a fastball. Regardless of what was said by either party, something was awry with Martinez’s actions, and Verlander let him know it.
Which brings us to Fenech’s report: Victor Martinez is an entitled ballplayer that is clearly not a leader. According to Fenech:
Martinez’s exchange with Verlander came almost a year to the date of his behavior reaching a breaking point in the clubhouse in the aftermath of an Aug. 27 loss to the Angels last season. In that game, four Tigers were ejected for arguing balls and strikes, including Martinez.
According to multiple people with first-hand knowledge of the situation, Martinez left Comerica Park early and was nowhere to be seen when the team entered the clubhouse after the game. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on clubhouse matters.
The early departure became a talking point inside the clubhouse, and when Martinez learned of that, he singled out a teammate for leading a whisper campaign, sources said. Martinez confronted the player, and they needed to be separated.
On Aug. 25, Martinez declined to answer questions about the clubhouse incident.
Ausmus also declined to answer questions that day, saying, “What happens in the clubhouse, stays in the clubhouse, for me.”
The incident is considered the point when Martinez detached himself as a leader, and the way he handled the matter did not sit well with the clubhouse, a source said.
Tell me that’s the guy we want mentoring our young players? I don’t’ think so.
It’s time to part ways with Victor Martinez –
Martinez has made his bed, and now it’s time the Tigers make him lay in it. He is owed $18 million for next season and will make that money whether he wears the Old English D or not. It seems, according to everything stated above, that the money would be wisely spent to ensure he’s nowhere near the clubhouse.
The Tigers will look different next year, that is for sure. With young prospects up and down the lineup one name should be noticably absent: Victor Martinez. If this season is any indication, we won’t miss his production (or lack thereof) on the field, and from the sounds of it he won’t be missed in the clubhouse either.