At one point the Tigers were hopeful that Victor Martinez could return from knee surgery to play this season, but yesterday general manager Dave Dombrowski admitted: “We’re not counting on it.”
Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Martinez hasn’t suffered a specific setback in his recovery, but the process is simply taking longer than initially hoped and now “the best-case scenario is a mid-September return.”
Or as Dombrowski put it: “Is there a chance? I guess there’s a chance, but we’re not counting on it. He’s just not quite ready yet. He still needs some strengthening of his leg, and we’re not going to be in a position where we take any chances with him.”
In his absence Detroit designated hitters–mostly Delmon Young–rank 13th in the 14-team league with a .641 OPS, batting just .246 with eight homers in 95 games. Martinez hit .330 with an .850 OPS last season and has posted an OPS below .840 just once in eight full seasons as a big leaguer. He’s being paid $13 million this season and is owed another $25 million for the next two years.
Free agent left-hander Wade Miley is among several offseason targets for the Twins, according to a report from Darren Wolfson of KSTP. Miley’s $12 million option was declined by the Orioles back in November, and while he’s expected to attract another major league deal in 2018, he hasn’t exactly been highly sought after this offseason.
The 31-year-old lefty finished his second campaign with the Orioles in 2017, producing an 8-15 record in 32 starts and ranking second-to-last among all AL starters with a 5.61 ERA, 5.3 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 in 157 1/3 innings. Even taking Miley’s undeniable durability into account — he remained healthy for the bulk of the season and completed his sixth straight year with 30+ starts — his declining value and career-worst numbers may lower his price tag as the 2018 season approaches.
Wolfson notes that the Twins have engaged in “regular dialogue” with Miley’s agent this winter, but he’s far from the only starting pitcher they have their eye on. Right-handers Yu Darvish, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman are still on their radar, among several others, and club owner Jim Pohlad said Saturday that he was “totally on board” with the idea of signing a big-name free agent like Darvish or another available starter. “There are some interesting names and some interesting opportunities there,” Pohlad told a crowd at TwinsFest. “I’m as intrigued by it as anybody and attracted to it as anybody.”