Should The Detroit Tigers Be Worried About Victor Martinez?


When news trickled out that Detroit Tigers star DH Victor Martinez hurt his knee again in the off-season, Tigers fans everywhere collectively held their breath.

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After all it was only two seasons ago before the 2012 season that Martinez tore his ACL and was out for the season.

While initial reports were optimistic there were still some doubts of the severity of his knee injury. The Tigers superstar First Basemen Miguel Cabrera had bone spurs but nobody knew about that until they physically cut open his ankle.

Worst case scenario Martinez could have been out for a long, long time. And for a team whose World Series window looks closer to closing each year they couldn’t afford losing their elder Martinez for an extended period.

Luckily Martinez only needed 4-6 weeks to heal and appeared to be ready somewhere near the beginning of the season.

While he’s been deemed healthy to play, should the Tigers be worried about his current production thus far? There’s no denying that he’s off to a slow start this season.

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He doesn’t look like the AL MVP runner-up from his monster 2014 season and a lot of the blame can and should be placed on his knee injury. While he seems to be finding his groove his stats so far this season have been uninspiring at best.

At a hitting line of .213/.333/.230/.563 he’s been struggling to say the least. While his OBP is still somewhat respectable as he draws walks (both intentional and unintentional) his slugging percentage is concerning.

He just doesn’t seem to be able to swing comfortably and it’s showing in his at-bats. Victor running on the bases is also a cringe-worthy sight as he seems to be even slower than last year.

At this point while it may be a bit unconventional the Tigers might benefit from Martinez taking a DL stint for a bit to heal himself.

Games in April matter as much as September but there’s a huge difference between a 100% healed Martinez than the hampered one fans are seeing now.

The Kansas City Royals don’t look like they’re going away anytime soon so it might be a long, exciting summer for Tigers and Royals fans alike. Except if the Tigers want to come out on top a healthy Martinez will be huge.

With the addition of the likes of Yoenis Cespedes and hot starts for a few Tigers batters they should be able to tread water when Martinez is out.

Manager Brad Ausmus can even choose to use the then-vacated DH position as a day off for some of his older guys. While it’s still somewhat early in the season, a day off can’t hurt for some of these everyday guys.

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Detroit Tigers

Tigers fans might even see a guy like Tyler Collins called up to see if he can spark this somewhat dormant offense.

The reality of the situation too is that they have 3 more years after 2015 of the 36-year-old Martinez. His long-term health should be a top priority for them after re-signing him in the off-season.

The Tigers are being as cautious as possible with their former-ace Justin Verlander, which is what they should do with him. Just like Verlander making sure Martinez is healthy is the right way to go about things.

Will they miss his bat even though he’s struggling? Absolutely. There’s no question about that.

There’s a reason teams are still intentionally walking him (6 IBB so far in 2015). He’s an imposing force in the cleanup spot and that’s part of the reason Ausmus hasn’t moved him around in this lineup yet.

It might be hard to stomach the loss of a middle-of-the-order bat but it really might just be necessary.

While this is admittedly speculation it’s still a fact that Martinez signed a long-term deal and the Tigers need to be conscious of that.

Nobody wants to see Martinez affected by his knee injury longer than he should. After all a healthy Martinez could go a long way to help this already strong offense.

From here on out with about 1/8th of the season over it’ll be interesting to see how the Tigers deal with Martinez. There’s no doubt that they’re still all-in on their quest to a World Series title though.

Now, your thoughts. How do you feel about Martinez’s injury? Did I overreact a bit? Or was I just spot on? Whatever the case, Martinez’s slow start seems to be from his knee injury and the sooner he gets better it’ll help the Tigers immensely.

Next: Rajai Davis has improved his approach at the plate

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