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Signed DH-S Victor Martinez to a four-year deal worth $68 million. [11/12]

Well, obviously.

Whereas one of the knocks against the Michael Cuddyer signing was that we don't know where the Mets will go next, one of the biggest defenses of this deal is that we know precisely where the Tigers have gone—to four consecutive postseasons and three of the past four ALCS. Those runs and owner Mike Ilitch's deep pockets and desire to win a World Series have allowed Dave Dombrowski to pursue upmarket solution after upmarket solution to his every problem. Martinez is the latest example.

In a vacuum, paying a soon-to-turn 36-year-old designated hitter close to $70 million is a poor idea. But these deals are never made without context, and especially not in Detroit. That doesn't mean this is a good deal—not in the normal sense, at least—but simply that it fits within the walls of the world Dombrowski and Ilitch have constructed. Put simply, the Tigers want to win a World Series in 2015 more than anything else, including fielding respectable teams later in the decade.

Perhaps the biggest long-term ramification of Martinez's signing—besides the money, of course—is how it impacts Miguel Cabrera's future. In short, Cabrera will have to play the field until '19, when he's the same age Martinez will be come next season. Maybe that's a non-factor no matter the scenario—if both hit the Tigers will live with the defense; if Martinez doesn't hit he can be dumped—but it's something to keep in mind so far as roster and lineup construction goes the next few years, and it means someone like Adam LaRoche isn't headed to the Motor City anytime soon.

If you can accept that as a respectable strategy, and get over the idea that the Tigers are sacrificing future flexibility for immediate gratification, then re-signing Martinez is a logical step. Yes, Martinez is old and limited defensively, having spent most of the past two seasons restricted to hitting and hitting only. But he's a lion of a hitter. Last season he set new career-high marks in each of the slash statistics, and homered a career-best 32 times. It's not that Martinez is a good power hitter, either—he's simply a good hitter with power.

There's no one way to quantify that distinction, but consider that he notched 23 more extra-base hits than strikeouts. That's abnormal and absurd; late-career Barry Bonds or in-his-prime Albert Pujols material. Sure, there are some exceptions—Sean Casey and Paul Lo Duca, for starters—but to hit for that much power without striking out much is the mark of a highly talented batter.

With that established, Martinez is unlikely to sustain his '14 production heading forward; in part because of his age, and in part because it's not an easy pace to maintain. The Tigers are no doubt taking comfort in Martinez's decade-long track record as an above-average hitter—since 2004, he's finished with below-average offensive marks twice: Once during an injury-shortened 2008, and again in an injury-erased 2012. And remember—he did that while catching most days. Obviously the past guarantees nothing. But if you're going to gamble on a player of this age, then Martinez's skill set feels like one to do it with.

The craziest aspect of this deal might be that it's Dombrowski's easiest offseason decision. All he had to do here was spend more money on a guy he's employed for years. Now he has to find a center fielder and bullpen help—and that assumes he stays internal to fill his needs at shortstop and fifth starter. As is, Dombrowski has done almost everything he can to ensure the Tigers win a ring one of these years—even if the way he's done it means their window is more defined and expensive, if not any shorter or less capable of delivering a parade, than other teams'. —R.J. Anderson

Fantasy impact

With his draft day price and his age both reaching uncomfortable heights, and with questions surrounding the sustainability of his power, Martinez is sure to have a few doubters. For those crying fluke, there were signs in Martinez's past that a year like this was possible. He hit .361/.413/.500 in the second half of 2013, as he posted a comical 27.2 percent line drive rate. He also lowered his strikeout rate to 6.5 percent, a rate he kept up for all of 2014. Martinez also led the American League in contact rate this year after a top five finish in ’13. The man is deadly with a bat.

Martinez has answered questions about his durability by playing 159 and 151 games in two seasons since his ACL injury. He’s caught just five games in those two seasons and will spell Miguel Cabrera at first base occasionally.

Despite his career high in home runs coming at age 35, it wouldn’t be wise to write off his power for next year. Martinez hit them in bunches, with nine homers in May, seven in June, and six in August. He’s in uncharted territory because of his age—he just became one of 20 players ever to post an OBP of at least .400 after turning 35—but Martinez seems to have adapted his skill set quite nicely. —Nick Shlain


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Signed LHP Jose De Paula to a big-league deal. [11/12]

De Paula joins his third organization in the past year, having been claimed off waivers by the Giants from the Padres last November. Why the fuss over a 26-year-old with 16 appearances at or above Triple-A? Because De Paula is a southpaw with a low-to-mid-90s fastball, that's why. He's spent most of his career in a rotation, and early indications are he'll continue to start; however, it's not too out there to think the Yankees could use him in the bullpen at some point.

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Signed OF-S Zoilo Almonte to a big-league deal. [11/10]

The Braves, new general manager and all, remained true to their reputation as an aggressive team in the minor-league free-agent market. It just so happens that Almonte's signing dovetails nicely with John Hart's top objective this winter: unraveling his tangled outfield. Truthfully, he has a chance to earn a roster spot with Atlanta regardless of whether Hart trades Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, or neither.

Almonte, 25, can do a little bit of almost everything. Alas, one thing he can't do, as evidenced by his big-league cameos, is maintain the strike zone. If he can somehow tighten his approach, thereby improving the quality of his contact, then he can carve out a career as an extra outfielder. Shy of that, Almonte will be biding time before he's bumped from the roster by Todd Cunningham or Kyle Wren.

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Claimed RHP Donn Roach off waivers from the Padres. [11/12]

Roach, you might recall, scurried to San Diego in the original Ernesto Frieri trade. He's not an embraceable type—his fastball tops out in the low 90s and at 6-foot even his height exceeds his strikeout-per-nine rate—but he has to chance to stick around for a while thanks to a heavy sinker and hard exoskeleton. He'll presumably spend time in the Cubs' bullpen, likely as a groundball specialist.

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Acquired RHP Rob Scahill from the Rockies in exchange for RHP Shane Carle. [11/11]

At the risk of overstating the significance of a trade for a pitcher whose home-runs-per-nine rate exceeded his strikeout-to-walk rate last season, this could be a useful move for the Pirates.

Scahill has struggled with his command and with left-handed hitters during his various big-league stints—the latter problem stems in part from his long arm action—but there's enough workable material here to envision a capable middle reliever. Something to watch for is whether the Pirates have Scahill follow in Jared Hughes' footsteps. Hughes became more effective against lefties last season, in part because he was able to consistently back-foot his slider. Obviously Scahill's secondary weapon of choice is a cutter instead of a slider, but learning how to manipulate it against lefties is a priority. Because he has an option remaining, he figures to receive further instruction in Indianapolis.

The cost for Scahill is Carle, a former 10th round pick from Long Beach State. Carle is a sinkerballer whose strikeout rates in the low minors have been as inspiring as Richard Dawkins at a funeral. He's almost certainly headed for a future in the bullpen.

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Signed INF-L Dean Anna to a big-league deal. [11/11]

Here you have a 28-year-old utility infielder who has failed to find a consistent role with three organizations, who has produced minor-league statistics constantly questioned by scouts, and who couldn't hit in the majors or minors in 2014. Yet because he landed a job with the Cardinals, there is renewed optimism about his prospects; what a world. Regardless of his new garb, Anna remains the same old limited talent. His on-base skills seem unlikely to translate to the majors enough to merit extensive playing time; a problem, because he doesn't defend well enough to play a premium position. Obviously the Cardinals like Anna enough to bring him to big-league camp, but probably just to compete with Daniel Descalso for a bench spot. Hey, it beats riding buses.

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Huntington is very good at finding relief pitchers: Schall is another shot at finding another.
Nice exoskeleton comment.
If you see the press conference yesterday with DD, Martinez and Mr Illitch, the deal was never in doubt. Mike Illitch apparently put his arm around Victor after the last game and said "don't worry we'll look after you". So he got 4 years and the upper end of the annual amount he was looking for, and the owner had already told him a month ago it was going to happen. The Tigers are a classy organisation.
It's just a shame Scherzer betrayed Mr Illitch, I said back in March that they should have him pitch 300 innings, and they didn't.