Detroit Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski stated earlier in the week that bringing designated hitter Victor Martinez back to Detroit was his “top priority.”
Martinez inked a four-year, $68 million deal on Wednesday, securing the team’s best hitter from 2014 and providing Miguel Cabrera with the lineup protection that he needs. The Martinez deal means that the middle of the Tigers lineup should remain strong through the 2018 season — even with Martinez at age 39 and Cabrera at age 35 at the conclusion of 2018.
With two aging stars, though, the major concerns obviously lie with their ability to maintain the skill level that earned them their large contracts. Major League Baseball players typically reach their peak in their late twenties, and see substantial decline by their late thirties.
I was watching the MLB Network count down the 25 greatest comebacks in MLB history earlier tonight (single-game or in a season), and the first thing that came to mind was the Cardinals’ miraculous run to a World Series title this past October. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the top 7, but the Cardinals had not been named yet. I have periodically thought of the run that the Cardinals made since it happened, and every time I think about it, I still cannot believe that it happened. The simple facts of it are amazing by themselves: down 10.5 games in the NL Wild Card race in late August, making the playoffs on the last day, and then defeating the Phillies, Brewers, and Rangers to win the title. The story beyond the basics is even better.