Tigers re-sign Victor Martinez to four-year, $68 million contract

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One big free agent domino is about to fall, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Tigers are close to re-signing designated hitter Victor Martinez to a four-year contract.

Martinez initially joined Detroit in 2010 on a four-year, $52 million deal. Back then he was 32 years old. Now he’s 36 years old, but Martinez is also coming off a career-year in which he hit .335 with 32 homers and a league-leading .974 OPS.

Martinez had never topped 25 homers in a season previously and homered just 14 times in 159 games for the Tigers in 2013, but he’s a career .303 hitter with a lifetime .847 OPS.

Martinez ranked No. 8 on HardballTalk’s list of the top 150 free agents.

UPDATE: It’s a four-year, $68 million deal. So that’s $17 million per season through age 39. And that means the Tigers will be paying a 35-year-old Miguel Cabrera, a 35-year-old Justin Verlander, and a 39-year-old Martinez a total of $75 million in 2018.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.