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Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tigers don't get a discount with V-Mart


Victor Martinez
Martinez
Catcher Victor Martinez and the Detroit Tigers have reached agreement on a four-year, $50 million contract. Martinez has hit just .225 with a .671 OPS in 196 career plate appearances at Comerica Park.

Those are both Martinez's lowest marks among the 14 ballparks where he has had at least 75 plate appearances. Last season in two games there he was 0-for-9 with two strikeouts in 10 at-bats.

The Tigers have struggled for production from their catchers in the past two seasons, ranking no better than 26th in the majors in hitting, slugging, on-base percentage and OPS. Martinez’s 187 RBIs the past two years lead all major league catchers, and his .302 average and 43 home runs are both second in the big leagues in that span.

Martinez is a career .300 hitter, reaching that mark in five of the past six seasons. He also ranks sixth in baseball history in batting average among catchers with at least 4,000 plate appearances.

The Tigers are getting a lot of things in their newly-signed catcher, but one thing they are not receiving is a strong defensive catcher.

Last season, Martinez threw out only 14.7 percent of baserunners attempting to steal, which was the sixth-lowest rate in the major leagues among qualified catchers. That was actually an improvement from 2009, when he threw out only 12.5 percent.

The deal is the second-largest free-agent contract in terms of both total dollars and average annual value given to a catcher. Only Jorge Posada's current four-year, $52.4 million deal with the New York Yankees is larger.