J. D. Martinez is the key to the Detroit Tigers second half.
These are words I thought I would never write. This is especially true becuase the Detroit Tigers picked him up on March 24, after the Houston Astros released him on March 22. The Tigers signed him to a minor league deal and after hitting 10 home runs for the Detroit Tigers triple A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens he was called up and played his first game as a Tiger in mid-April.
Martinez has been tearing the cover off the ball since becoming a full time player on June 12th after the injury to Torii Hunter hitting .367 in June and .462 at this point in July. If he had enough at-bats to qualify that would lead all of baseball. All of this from a guy who was released from a team that is in 4th place in the American League Western Division.
This maybe the best free agent pick up in Dave Dombrowski’s career. Martinez has saved this offense allowing Dombrowski to focus on improving the bullpen, the second biggest concern this off season. Bringing in Joel Hanranhan, who is on the 15 day disabled list, will help that but hopefully he will make another move either by trade or bringing up someone from the minors.
The Detroit Tigers outfield had been horrible before J. D. Martinez got here and his performance has pushed the other outfielders to improve their games. After returning from injury Torii Hunter was in danger of losing playing time to J.D. But lately he has turned his season around reminding us why Dave Domrowski aquired him in the first place.
Austin Jackson’s play has also improved earning him his old spot at the top of the line-up. When Andy Dirks returns to the Tigers after his rehab assignment they will have 5 outfielders for 3 spots. That would be a good problem to have and maybe trader Dave could use one of those guys to improve our bullpen. J.D. Martinez has solved the power outage that existed in the 5 spot. This has lessened my anxiety over them trading Prince Fielder. If J.D. Martinez continues to hit like this for the rest of the season the Tigers could finally have that long waited parade down Woodward.