He may not be Adrian Beltre, but he should fill a valuable role for the Tigers in 2005. Ramon Martinez has been a utility infielder for most of his major league career, never reaching 400 at bats in his 7-year major league career.
However, Martinez has found his niche as a backup off the bench, and has done it well, in 5 seasons with the San Francisco Giants, and most recently the last 2 with the Chicago Cubs.
Last year, Martinez appeared in 104 games for the Cubs, hitting .246 in 260 at bats, including 15 doubles and 30 RBI. Martinez saw time at 5 positions over the last 2 seasons with the Cubs, including all 4 infield spots.
The Tigers apparently got a good one as well (assuming he's used where he's expected to play), as many Cubs were sad to lose a valuable utility player. InsideTheIvy's Steve Holley was quoted as saying "He's capable of playing every infield position on the left side, and is a fairly tough out off the bench." However, the Tigers should hope that he stays on the bench when the game kicks off.
"But he's a lousy starter" Holley finished.
The addition could spell trouble for IF Jason Smith, who was the team's utility Infielder in 2004. However, when asked for a quote, Tigers President/CEO Dave Dombrowski stated "With Brandon at third, we needed a utility infielder to go along with Jason Smith in that role." So, Smith shouldn't be written off just yet.
In any case, the Tigers have now ended their 6-week period of inactivity with the signing of Martinez.
The Tigers remain mildly interested in right-handed starter Derek Lowe, however, not at his asking price. Another potential target dropped off the board on Tuesday when left-handed starter Odalis Perez re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 3 years.