Victor Martinez Likely To Miss Season, Detroit Tigers Could Need DH

While news has been pouring out all day long about players avoiding arbitration, the biggest news is likely to be the Detroit Tigers' announcement that designated hitter Victor Martinez has a torn ACL and will likely be forced to miss the entire 2012 season. Martinez injured himself while doing winter workouts last week.

With the injury, a major need at the designated hitter position opens up for Detroit. This is a team that had been expecting Martinez to be a major factor on offense once again after a strong 2011 season, but now they may need to play the entire 2012 season without one of their best hitters. Martinez hit .330/.380/.470 in 595 PA's for Detroit last season, and was expected to be the full-time DH in 2012.

Now the Tigers are likely to be on the prowl for a new designated hitter without Martinez, and that could lead them in a variety of directions. Here are some of the rumors that have already popped up on Detroit's likely search for a new bat:

  • Your first thought might have been Prince Fielder, but it's not going to happen. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports that Fielder has said repeatedly that he won't be a designated hitter. With Miguel Cabrera locked in long-term as Detroit's first baseman, I think we can cross this one off the list.
  • On the other hand, Cuban center fielder Yoenis Cespedes could be a real possibility for the Tigers, according to Morosi. The move would allow Detroit to get more athletic in the outfield by playing Cespedes in a corner, with Delmon Young moving to the DH spot.
  • Two other possibilities outside of Cespedes could be free agents Johnny Damon and Carlos Pena, as Jim Bowden of ESPN notes. Signing either one would give Detroit a veteran bat to insert into the lineup, but they're both pretty limited defensively. Pena would certainly provide a bit more pop.
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