January 17th, 2012

Victor Martinez suffers knee injury, likely out for 2012

So much for that quiet Tigers offseason. The team announced today that Victor Martinez suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during offseason workouts. If surgery is required, it’ll likely sideline him for the entire 2012 season.

Dave Dombrowski and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand are scheduled to talk about the injury later this afternoon, so we’ll know more about what the Tigers do from here after that. It paints the Yoenis Cespedes sweepstakes in an entirely different light, and it could put the Tigers in the market for another bat, though likely not on a long-term deal.

Tigers reach deals with Kelly, Scherzer, Young

For a 10th consecutive year, the Tigers have avoided going to arbitration. This time, they didn’t get past the day numbers were exchanged.

On the day arbitration-eligible players and teams exchange numbers, the Tigers found a middle ground with their remaining three eligible players and settled. They agreed to one-year deals with right-hander Max Scherzer, outfielder Delmon Young and utilityman Don Kelly.

Kelly will earn $900,000 this coming season. Young and the Tigers settled for $6.75 million, according to CBSSports.com, which also reported Scherzer’s salary $3.75 million plus bonuses.

Kelly’s contract shows the value of versatility on the market. He made his case with two years of solid utility work, playing in 231 games combined over the last two seasons. He batted .245 (63-for-257) last year with eight doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 28 RBIs and a .672 OPS. He also pitched in one game and caught in another during the same week in late June and early July.

Kelly was eligible for arbitration for the first time after 11 years in pro baseball. The 27-year-old Scherzer had to wait a little less after his Major League debut in 2008 and three seasons in a rotation after that, the last two with the Tigers.

In terms of victories, last season was the best for Scherzer, who went 15-9 despite a career-high 4.43 ERA. He struck out 174 batters over 195 innings while allowing 207 hits and 29 home runs. He has 94 starts over the last three years, including a career-high 33 in 2011.

Young was expected to be the most challenging case, partly because he’s a year away from free agency, partly because he had what seemed like two different seasons — an early-season struggle with Minnesota before a late-season surge in Detroit.

The 26-year-old ended up with a .268 average with 12 home runs and 64 RBIs in 124 games before hitting five postseason runs in the Tigers’ run to the American League Championship Series.

The Tigers haven’t faced an arbitration ruling since Dave Dombrowski took over as general manager in 2002.

Kelly, Tigers agree to one-year deal

Today’s the day when arbitration-eligible players are scheduled to exchange figures with their teams, which makes it the day a lot of deals get done to avoid arbitration. You can add Don Kelly to the list.

A source confirms that the Tigers have avoided arbitration with Kelly, settling on a one-year deal worth $900,000. Credit Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network with the scoop.

Kelly made his case with two years of solid utility work, playing in 231 games combined over the last two seasons. He batted .245 (63-for-257) last year with eight doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 28 RBIs and a .672 OPS. He also pitched in a game, as you may have heard.

Kelly’s contract shows the value of versatility on the market. For comparison’s sake, Ramon Santiago received $825,000 his first season after becoming arbitration-eligible.

Kelly’s deal leaves Max Scherzer and Delmon Young as the remaining arbitration-eligible Tigers who have yet to reach a deal. Once the figures are released, we should get an idea how far apart they are.

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