Victor Martinez Injury: How Can the Detroit Tigers Replace His Bat for 2012?

Timothy HowellCorrespondent IIJanuary 17, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 15:  Victor Martinez #41 of the Detroit Tigers reacts after deing defeated in Game Six of the American League Championship Series by the Texas Rangers eliminating them from the playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 15, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

According to the Detroit Free Press, Victor Martinez, the Detroit Tiger's designated hitter and occasional catcher/first baseman, has reportedly torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during an offseason workout.

The 2011 Detroit Tigers clinched the AL Central title last year, as well as upset the NY Yankees in the ALDS, due in no small measure to the bat of Victor Martinez.  

Martinez, who put together a slash line of .330/.380/.470 with 12 home runs during the regular season, created a fearsome one-two punch with teammate and 2011 American League batting champion Miguel Cabrera.

Now, it is apparent that the Tigers will have to do without the switch-hitting Venezuelan for most, if not all, of 2012.

This leads to speculation as to what the Tigers might do to replace Martinez's production in the middle of their batting order.

The most intriguing option might be international free agent Yoenis Cespeds, a Cuban defector that set the baseball world on its ear thanks to his fascinating promotional video that comes complete with scrolling "Star Wars" banner effects.

In all likelihood, Cespedes wouldn't be an immediate fix, as most project that the slugging outfield prospect should start his professional career in Triple-A to iron out some mechanical issues.

Aging former All-Star Vladimir Guerrero (36) is still available, as are two free agents that are certainly no strangers to the Tigers in Johnny Damon and Magglio Ordonez.  

As recently as 2010, Vladimir Guerrero was an All-Star (then with Texas Rangers), and in 2011 put up respectable numbers with the Baltimore Orioles—.290/.317/.416 with 12 home runs.

Damon (38), played for the Tigers in 2010, and had a solid season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 (.261/.326/.418 with 16 home runs). Damon might have lost a step or two in the outfield, but he can certainly still hit, and can fill in at first base on occasion to rest Cabrera.

Orodonez spent the last seven seasons with the Detroit Tigers, but various injuries drastically cut short his playing time, limiting him to just 176 games in the previous two seasons combined. 

Hideki Matsui (37), and Bobby Abreu (37) present two interesting possible acquisitions for the Tigers as well, but like Guerrero, both are aging veterans whose best years are clearly behind them.

Martinez is scheduled to be re-valuated by Dr. Richard Stedman next week, but surgery to repair the torn ligament in his left knee is the most likely outcome.

Recovery time from an ACL injury is generally nine to 12 months post-surgery.