Remembering the Michael Martinez Era


Sep 24, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Michael Martinez (7) looks on from the dugout in the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday signaled the end of an era. It’s one we will have a hard time forgetting, no matter how hard we may try.

On Thursday, the Phillies dropped utility infielder/outfielder Michael Martinez from their 40-man roster. Also dropped were Pete Orr, Zach Miner and Mauricio Robles, but those chaps were in and out of this organization like a swift breeze that gently grazes one’s cheek.

Martinez’s performance, however, was like a canker sore that would never heal.

During his storied Phils career, Martinez inexplicably hung on like no other terrible Phillies player has since Steve Jeltz. He mind bogglingly accumulated 396 career plate appearances with the Phillies, and hit .187/.234/.261 with 15 career extra-base hits. He supplemented that brutal offensive production with mediocre defense, but because he could “play” multiple positions, the Phils kept thinking he served some purpose.

They were wrong.

Martinez, a Rule 5 pick that should have been immediately offered back to the Nationals during his 2011 rookie campaign, just kept finding his way onto the big league club. It was uncanny, especially when you consider he was one of the worst hitters in the entire history of the team.

The Phillies have been around since 1883, by the way.

Of the 428 hitters in team history who accumulated at least 300 career plate appearances, Martinez ranks 425th in OPS (.495). The only players worse than him were Tony Cusik, Frank Ringo and John Vukovich.

Bear in mind, Steve Jeltz’ career OPS was .586, 388th best in team history. So yeah, Martinez was a lot worse than Jeltz, as stupefying as that is.

Sep 8, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Michael Martinez (7) in the dugout prior to playing the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Braves 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, we’ve seen this game before with Martinez. In fact, this is the third time Martinez has been made a free agent, and it doesn’t necessarily mean his Phillies career is over. The same thing happened last year, with the Phillies signing him to a minor league contract.

And, like a bad penny, he turned up once again in a big league uniform this year, hitting .175/.175/.175 in 40 PAs.

Look again at that slash line. In 40 plate appearances, Martinez did not walk, did not get an extra-base hit, and singled just seven times.

So while we all may dance with glee that Martinez has been expunged from the roster, there is always the chance the 31-year-old will come back. In fact, I don’t know how we’ll be able to stop it.

Still, as we throw dirt over what we hope will be the grave of Michael Martinez’ Phillies career, let’s remember the good times.

Here he is, hitting his first career home run, just like the big kids do it!

Then, some other home runs. There were only five to choose from.

Then this “great/horrible” defensive gem in 2011.

And even that last one allowed the Phillies to beat the Braves in Game 162 of the 2011 season, allowing the St. Louis Cardinals to win the Wild Card.

We all know how that turned out.

So, THANKS A LOT, Martinez. Even when you were good, you hurt us.