When the Detroit Tigers signed Victor Martinez to a four year, $50 million contract, the main criticism over the deal involved Martinez’s ability to transfer his great bat as a catcher to slightly above average bat for a first baseman or designated hitter, positions at which he’d inevitably end up playing more and more innings.

Martinez had a great season at the plate last year for any position, getting on base 38% of the time and collecting a .368 wOBA, the third highest of his career. While declines are certainly a reality, perhaps pundits had underestimated the former catcher’s true talent and what regular rest from catching duties would mean to his plate appearances.

Unfortunately for the Detroit Tigers, the contract might be considered regrettable for a different reason entirely after Martinez tore the ACL in his left knee during an off season conditioning exercise last week and will likely miss the entirety of the 2012 season.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press:

Martinez will be re-evaluated by Dr. Richard Stedman next week and surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee is anticipated.

It will be interesting to see if the team, which is probably still expected to compete for a playoff spot in the AL Central, rides out the injury with what the Tigers already have on their roster or show interest in some of the available designated hitters that are still on the free agent market, including Johnny Damon, Casey Kotchman, Derrek Lee, Hideki Matsui, Carlos Pena and Manny Ramirez.

The team will hold a press conference shortly to address the bad news.