The big baseball news of the day is that Nate Schierholtz avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $1.3 million. Right behind Schierholtz, though, is the sad tale of Victor Martinez and his torn ACL. Tuesday, word spread that the Detroit Tigers will probably be without their talented DH and sometimes-catcher for all of the 2012 season.
Naturally, in response, the big question now is: how do the Tigers replace what they've lost? Many have offered different solutions. Here's a solution from Eno Sarris at FanGraphs:
Luckily, there’s a platoon slugger out there on the market that could help: Carlos Pena. Though the lefty has seen his work against southpaws dwindle to a 59 wRC+ last year, he’s still able to turn on offerings from right-handers. Over the last three years, he’s averaged a 130 wRC+ against them even, with a strikeout rate closer to 25% than 30% and an ISO closer to .250 than .200.
Squint and you could see a Raburn/Pena platoon managing offense that would be about 20% better than league average, along with about as much value with the glove as Martinez offered.
Carlos Pena has been a Tiger before. He batted .244, with a 111 OPS+. That was a long time ago. These two sentences don't necessarily have much to do with one another.
Pena could work, provided he's open to it, and the Tigers are open to it. More important than understanding that Pena could work, though, is understanding that a number of options could work. Martinez is a rough and visible loss, but at the same time, Martinez isn't a superstar. The Tigers didn't lose Miguel Cabrera or Justin Verlander. They lost a DH with a pretty good bat. They'll be hurt, but they'll survive.