Following a second trip to the disabled list this year due to an irregular heartbeat, Victor Martinez will undergo heart ablation surgery, according to reports. He will miss the rest of the 2017 season, but should be healthy in time for spring training.
Manager Brad Ausmus told reporters that Martinez has not considered an early retirement. “It’s common and [Martinez’s doctors] assured him there shouldn’t be any long-term risks,” Ausmus told reporters on Saturday. Martinez was obviously cautious, according to reporters, but eventually opted to have the surgery.
Martinez has been a negative for the Detroit Tigers this season. He is hitting just .255/.324/.372 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI. He is once again well below average as a baserunner, and has been worth -1.1 fWAR in 107 games. It’s the second time in the past three years that he has been at least a win below replacement level; he is batting just .266/.327/.412 in three seasons since he finished second in the AL MVP voting in 2014.
Should he return in 2018, Martinez will be entering the final year of a four-year, $68 million contract he signed after that 2014 season. The deal was met with grimaces (if not outright scorn) from the Tigers fanbase, and his poor performance is one reason why the team is headed for a rebuild.
Martinez’s upcoming surgery is the latest blow in a tumultuous week for the Tigers roster. Stars Justin Verlander and Justin Upton were traded late in the week, and staff ace Michael Fulmer is currently dealing with an elbow injury. He will see Dr. James Andrews later this week. Anibal Sanchez will return soon after suffering a hamstring injury, and Daniel Norris will pitch out of the bullpen after missing time due to a hip injury.