The Tigers have agreed to re-sign designated hitter Victor Martinez to a four-year contract, $68 million contract, according to a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The deal, which was first reported as close by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, is pending a physical.
Martinez, who turns 36 next month, was the top priority for the Tigers after a stellar season in which he hit .335/.409/.565 with 32 home runs and 103 RBI. He drew significant interest from the Mariners and Blue Jays in the first few days of free agency, but the Tigers appear to have acted quickly and aggressively by guaranteeing him a deal that will keep him in Detroit through his age-39 season.
Martinez's return is the first step in what should be a busy offseason for the Tigers, who will now turn their attention to potentially re-signing Torii Hunter as well as adding bullpen help. Detroit also lost Max Scherzer to free agency after the season, but is not considered the favorite to sign him due to his high asking price and a breakdown in extension negotiations last winter.
With Martinez locked up through 2018, the Tigers now have three of their stars locked up long-term, with Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera already being tied down to long-term extensions. In 2018, Detroit will pay a 35-year old Verlander, a 35-year old Cabrera and a 39-year old Martinez a combined $75 million, which should equate to almost half of the team's entire payroll. The team has $470 million committed to the trio of Verlander, Cabrera and Martinez through the 2023 season, when Cabrera's deal expires.
For his career, Martinez is a lifetime .306/.373/.475 hitter with 189 home runs and 927 RBI. He was considered one of the best hitters on the free-agent market this offseason, meaning that offensively-impaired teams will have to turn to available options like Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval.