Report: the Tigers are close to signing Victor Martinez

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A report from Ignacio Serrano of ESPN Deportes has the Tigers on the verge of signing Victor Martinez for four-years, $50 million. Serrano says that it’s all but done and is pending a physical. Ken Rosenthal is confirming the report.

Rosenthal adds that the Tigers outbid the Red Sox (which we discussed the other day), the White Sox and the Orioles. The Red Sox offer was two-years, $21 million. It’s unclear if the Orioles or White Sox came closer in terms of dollars or years.  And the years may be more important for Martinez.  He was more emotional when he was traded away from Cleveland last year than any player in that situation that I can recall.  He appears to really value stability and keeping family close, and the ability for him to stay in one place — at least theoretically speaking — is probably high on his list.

As for the Tigers: Martinez would certainly be valuable as a middle-of-the-order bat and, as everyone is obligated to note when discussing him, having him around gives them added flexibility.  He won’t be playing a ton of first base in Detroit with Miguel Cabrera hanging around, but he will certainly be useful shuttling between catcher and DH and can spell Cabrera at first when necessary.  What this deal also seems to do is to take the Tigers out of the running for Adam Dunn. That is, unless Detroit is silly enough to put him Comerica Park’s left field.  If they thought Johnny Damon was an adventure out there, just wait until they get a load of Dunn’s “range.”

(link and translation via Bless You Boys)

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.

The Rays gave Seth Smith a little league homer last night

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I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:

Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.

Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.

Watch:

 

I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.

Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.