The official baseball season hasn't even seen it's first pitch yet, but the Detroit Tigers will likely be without one of their top players in 2012, as catcher Victor Martinez
has reportedly suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
According to multiple sources, Martinez suffered the injury during his off-season workouts. If surgery is required, it's likely that the ten-year big league veteran could miss all of the 2012 season.
Martinez, 33, hit .330/.380/.470 with 12 home runs and 103 RBI in 2011. He posted a .850 OPS in 145 games while splitting time between designated hitter and catcher.
With 24-year-old Alex Avila
serving as the everyday catcher for Detroit last season and likely the full time catcher in 2012, the Tigers will be focused on finding a replacement at the DH position rather than a replacement catcher. Serving as the backup catcher to Avila is veteran Gerald Laird
, who signed a one-year deal with the Tigers over the off-season.
A few veteran free agents like Carlos Pena
and Johnny Damon
could become interesting targets for Detroit over the next few days.
Whatever direction the Tigers decide to move in, losing Martinez for an extended period of time not only hurts the team offensively, but places a lot of pressure on slugger Miguel Cabrera
. The injury could mean that a lot of opposing pitchers avoid dealing with Cabrera all together, choosing to issue him free passes. Cabrera's 22 intentional walks last season was fourth most among all major league hitters.