Martinez was signed before thanksgiving in 2010 as part of a Free Agent class that turned into one of the most disappointing of all time. In simpletons terms here’s a list comparing salary to years to wins over replacement:
Carl Crawford (7 years $142 million, $20 million per year, finished with a 0.2 WAR)
Adam Dunn (4, $56 $14, -2.9)
Jayson Werth (7, $126, $18, 2.5)
Victor Martinez (4, $50, $12.5, 2.9)
Adrian Beltre (5, $80, $16, 5.7)
Cliff Lee (5, $120, $24, 6.7)
The first years on some of these contracts (Crawford, Dunn, and Werth) were so historically bad that most people can only say that from this point on, their collective performances can only go up. They’re right. That’s the only good thing you can say about their 2011 seasons as none of their teams even advanced to the playoffs.
Martinez’s value was only placed 2.9 above replacement, but compared to the other big name Free Agent signs outside of Beltre and Lee, Martinez was the one who earned his money, especially at $12.5m per year.
The concerns of his age and injury history are merited. He probably won’t be worth his contract in the final year of the deal. Maybe not even in the third year, but as long as he is healthy in 2012, it isn’t crazy to think he could be as valuable or even more so with a year at Comerica under his belt.