With the release of Alex Gonzalez, the Detroit Tigers had a hole to fill on their 25-man roster. The Tigers went with infielder Danny Worth to fill the hole. A member of the Tigers organization since 2007, Worth has filled in at second base for the Tigers from time to time, but he looks to get his first shot at the shortstop job with this call-up. He has been playing for the Tigers’ triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens this season, hitting .308 in 14 games.
After Jose Iglesias was put on the DL during Spring Training with a shin injury, Worth looked to be a strong candidate to see time at shortstop, but the Tigers went in another direction, trading for Andrew Romine and Gonzalez to fill the hole. That changed after Gonzalez opened the season hitting .167 through nine games. With Gonzalez not hitting and not fielding well, he became expendable.
Worth was the logical choice to replace Gonzalez as the Tigers needed a backup infielder, but he isn’t the only player at triple-A who deserves a call-up. J.D. Martinez has been on fire for the Mud Hens this season. Through 17 games, Martinez is hitting .308 with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs. Martinez has just 20 hits on the season there, but 14 have gone for extra bases, helping Martinez post a .846 slugging percentage.
Martinez could provide a big boost to the Tigers’ bench. The Tigers have just three bench players on their current roster: utility player Don Kelly, catcher Bryan Holaday and Worth. None of those players are known for their power and adding Martinez to the group would give the Tigers a dynamic pinch-hitting option that could even be in the mix to receive some playing time in the outfield.
Martinez was in the big leagues with the Houston Astros for the past three seasons and put up solid numbers, but never showed the power potential like he is now. The change of scenery looks to have done wonders for Martinez, and the Tigers would be wise to call him up and take advantage of his hot bat, especially with Andy Dirks out with an injury.
There are no guarantees that Martinez would continue his hot streak at the major league level, but the Tigers would be foolish to not give him a chance.