In the end, it played out about as expected. The Mariners pursued, and the Tigers spent more. Those details are probably enough for most, as it was apparent Martinez was never going to leave Detroit if the Tigers put a respectable offer on the table—but nevertheless, we have some specifics now. And those specifics come from the man doing the negotiating.
Actually, they come from the man who talked to the man doing the negotiating. That's Venezuelan reporter Victor Boccone of Ultimas Noticias, as he tweeted out some quotes from Jose Mijares, Martinez's agent at Octagon.
Mijares comentó sobre V-Mart que #Tigers nunca se pronunció hasta ver que de verdad se iría a otro equipo y por eso hicieron la oferta.— Victor Boccone G. (@Vboccone) November 19, 2014
El agente de V-Mart dejó entre dicho que #Mariners estuvo muy cerca de pactar con el designado de Detroit.— Victor Boccone G. (@Vboccone) November 19, 2014
So you don't have to run to Google Translate and still be left confused, here's how that translates, from a helpful individual who understands the nuance of the language.
@colinokeefe first says Detroit was holding off on offer until they saw other teams interested— Markye West (@Marco2Ochoa) November 20, 2014
@colinokeefe second one says " V-marts agent said the Mariners were very close to getting him until Detriot offered "— Markye West (@Marco2Ochoa) November 20, 2014
Boccone was also nice enough to confirm.
@colinokeefe Yes. When the Tigers GM saw the others offers to Martinez they began the conversations— Victor Boccone G. (@Vboccone) November 20, 2014
Like I mentioned at the start, it wasn't much different from what I imagine most of us expected. The Mariners did make a serious push for Martinez, something they'd likely been planning for months, and it wasn't enough because Martinez was never going to leave Detroit. The Tigers simply waited for the market to set the price and then had Uncle Ilitch write a check all this hubbub go away.
I was initially optimistic about the Mariners' chances to sign Victor Martinez, especially once he reached the free agent negotiating period without a deal from the Tigers. Though, I'm not sure why. Signing Victor Martinez necessitated the Mariners be less financially prudent than Mike Ilitch—and I'm not sure that's possible (not that there's anything wrong with that).
I realize all the "this went as expected" talk runs in contrast to yesterday's piece, but if we could see this coming, odds are the front office could as well. There are contingency plans, and while we have no idea what exactly those might be, they exist. I'm sure signing Victor Martinez isn't something they were banking on.
Anyway, why do we discuss this now? What does it matter anyway? Well, the source is as reliable as it gets without actually being Martinez—so this is as good as data. We don't have updating release points, BABIPs and walk rates, so data points on rumors and acquisitions are worth taking a look at right now.
What does this data point mean? Well, it's further confirmation the Mariners do have the money to spend to lure an elite free agent to hitter to Seattle. If the Tigers didn't exist, or didn't think it was wise to sign an aging full-time DH with Miguel Cabrera coming off serious ankle surgery—there's a good chance Victor Martinez is a Mariner heading into 2015. Then, on top of the financial allure, the Mariners were effectively able to convince (another) top-shelf free agent to come to the Pacific Northwest.
Critics will be sure to point to this situation as another example of the Mariners trying and coming up short on a big-time free agent—which, sure, is true in a way. It's in an important way. I don't know if there's a dollar figure that would've pried Martinez from Detroit (probably not), but you get the sense the Mariners weren't willing to go there. They went to 10 and 242 for their guy, but in the pursuit of Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder, there were levels they weren't going to get to. It should be clear now, that's not a bad thing.
Is what happened with Martinez a big deal? No, not really. Mariners fans shouldn't be walking away kicking themselves because the organization came so close. Because, in a way they did, but really— how close are you really when his current team hadn't placed its bid yet?
Either way, it's interesting—and it's over. The Mariners are already on to the target after the target after Martinez. Like we mentioned yesterday, it's time to get creative.