You've surely heard the news by now; Victor Martinez has signed a four-year extension with the Tigers worth a reported $68 million. Over the four years of Martinez's previous contract he provided the Tigers with tons of offensive value, and made the deal more than worthwhile even after missing the entire 2012 season. However, his most recent season was the best of his career, and many feel that the Tigers are paying for that performance, rather than on they will get moving forward.
On one side of the aisle, Martinez has never had a full season in which he posted a wRC+ below 119, with the exception of his return from knee surgery. Martinez's game is not based on oodles of speed or athleticism, or even on brute strength. Martinez is one of the smartest hitters in baseball and derives much of his value from his incredible abilities to read pitchers and get himself into favorable hitting situations. Because of this, he should be able to resist the effects of age longer than players who rely more on their physical tools.
On the other side, Victor will turn 40 years old shortly after this contract concludes. Even the best hitters in the history of the game succumb to the effects of age eventually, and "eventually" almost always occurs before age 40. Out of all the fantastic hitters since the middle of the last century, only three -- Pete Rose, Rickey Henderson, and Paul Molitor -- were able to hit .300 in a full season at age 40 or beyond. Everyone else either couldn't keep up an elite level of hitting, or couldn't stay healthy enough to stay in the lineup every day. Victor will need to do some things that only a handful of players have ever done in order to avoid the end of this contract being a disaster.
So which side are you on?