After Wednesday’s game, Victor Martinez acknowledged he will retire after the season.
As the Detroit Tigers play out the final six weeks of the season, and try to avoid 100 losses, there won’t be a lot worth watching. But after Wednesday’s loss to the Chicago White Sox, Victor Martinez told reporters he’s “pretty sure” he’ll retire after the season.
“I think I’m pretty sure this is going to be it,” “I’m just enjoying these last six weeks and finally go home.”
Martinez is in the midst of the worst season of his career, with a .244/.294/.331 slash-line (career-low .624 OPS), six home runs and 39 RBI over 402 plate appearances. He is also in the final year of a four-year,$68 million contract, and approaching 40 years old so it will be a good time to call it a career.
Over seven seasons with the Tigers, not counting the 2012 campaign he missed due to injury, Martinez has a .291 batting average (.791 OPS) with 115 home runs and 525 RBI. But in three of the last four seasons, with a last hoorah in 2016 (.289, 27 home runs, 86 RB, .826 OPS), he has an OPS below .700 and is clearly not the hitter he once was.
Martinez is in some pretty rare statistical air, particularly as strikeouts have become prevalent.
During his time with the Cleveland Indians (2002-2009), Martinez was one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. But over his run with the Tigers he has become primarily a designated hitter, with 15 games played at first base over the last four seasons (zero since 2016). That is a nod to preserving him physically in his late 30’s, and now he’s not doing anything with a bat his hands. Advanced statistics back up that eroding contribution, with a -1.2 WAR this year (Baseball Reference).
Any sort of debate on Martinez’s Hall of Fame credentials can now begin. He clearly belongs in the proverbial “Hall of Very Good”, with a spot on some writer’s ballots once he’s eligible, but ultimately it won’t be enough to get into Cooperstown.