$5 for 3 months. Save 83%.
$5 for 3 months. Save 83%.

V-Mart told Tigers last summer: 'Bring me back'

By Tony Paul, The Detroit News

Detroit — Victor Martinez made it clear Friday that he didn't want to go anywhere else.

Of course, he made that clear to Dave Dombrowski over the summer.

Sometime months ago, after a Tigers game at Comerica Park, Martinez pulled aside Dombrowski, the Tigers president and general manager, and asked if they could speak.

They huddled up in a private locker room behind the main one, and Martinez said three powerful words.

"Bring me back."

On Friday, the Tigers officially did, announcing Martinez has signed a four-year deal to remain the Tigers designated hitter. He'll get $68 million, the most ever for a DH — in terms of total money and annual value.

There were a number of teams interested in the slugger, including the Mariners, who made a valid offer.

But Martinez sure made it seem like he didn't much consider any other teams.

"This is where I am right now," he said. "I think that shows everybody."

The move was a big one for the Tigers, and one that probably signaled the Tigers remain in win-now mode under owner Mike Ilitch.

Ilitch was in attendance, and while he was walking gingerly, he still showed his wit.

Asked if the Martinez deal means he's still willing to spend, Ilitch reached for his wallet. "I've still got some 20s in here." Then came the laughter, and then a telling Ilitch comment: "You know how I feel."

The Martinez deal carries some risk, even for a guy coming off a runner-up showing in the MVP voting.

He was entering his age-32 season four years ago when he signed with Detroit for $50 million. This deal, worth substantially more, will take him to his age-39 season.

Dombrowski acknowledged some risk, but said there's risk in any long-term deal.

He then asked who folks most fear in the Red Sox lineup. "Well, it's David Ortiz, and he's 39 years old."

Martinez then was asked if he remains confident he'll be the hitter at 39 that he is now.

"We'll see," he said, with a grin. "I can answer that at the end of my career."

It's now a career that, in all likelihood, will conclude with Detroit.