I am, by all accounts, a pretty reasonable man. I generally like when things are backed by sound logic and reason. When I take a risk, it’s usually a calculated one and I’m not predisposed to acts of craziness.
With this in mind, I had to laugh at my initial reaction last night when I heard the news that the Phillies had called up Michael Martinez to take Chase Utley’s roster spot while Utley goes on the Disabled List. When it was announced, the first image that popped into my head was that of me taking a spoon with each hand, and jamming them into my eyeballs. Ridiculous? Yup. Senseless? You betcha, but no more so than the Martinez decision. That’s just how insane his play makes me.
Martinez, for the uninitiated, is a utility infielder/outfielder in the Phillies organization. He was picked up by the Phillies in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft, which is where teams go to pick players off the scrap heap in the hopes that the light goes in for that player while in their organization. This almost NEVER happens, but it did once for the Phillies with Shane Victorino, so naturally they now feel like every lump of coal they pick out of this draft will become a diamond. The problem with picking a player through the Rule 5 Draft is that they have to stay on your team’s 25-man roster for the season, you can’t send that player down to the minors that year. Usually it’s a waste of a roster space.
So it went with Martinez. But, no worry, he’d surely drift off into oblivion after the Phillies’ obligation was up, right? No, they re-signed him for the 2012 season, even though he hit only .196 in 2011. Of course, he followed that up by hitting a crap-tastic .174 in 2012. He was demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the 2013 season, so we all hoped he would be out-of-sight and out-of-mind this year.
When the Utley injury happened, it was assumed that Darin Ruf would be brought up to provide the Phillies lineup with some much needed punch. Here are logical, sound reasons why you might pick the 1B/LF Ruf over Martinez:
- As just mentioned, Ruf provides power, which the Phillies definitely need.
- The Phils already have three guys (Freddy Galvis, Michael Young, and Kevin Frandsen) who can play 2B, 3B, or SS in a pinch. All of them can hit light years better than Martinez.
- Martinez has an OPS of .590…IN THE MINOR LEAGUES!!! Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee (who shouldn’t be a better hitter because he is a pitcher) has a major league OPS of .718 this year.
Here are some reasons you might go with Martinez over Ruf:
- You are drunk/high/both.
- Michael Martinez has naked pictures of you.
- You don’t want to cause a “platoon controversy” where people will clamor for Ruf to platoon with Ryan Howard if Ruf comes up and hits well.
For GM Ruben Amaro’s sake, I hope he chose Martinez because of option #2. At least it’s a valid reason that can be defended. I’d even settle for option #1. But I can’t help but wonder if option #3 comes into play here a little bit. They have three games coming up against the Nationals (who Ruf hits well against) followed by two more in Boston, where Ruf can play first and allow Howard to DH. Why on earth would you go with Martinez?
Look, this is coming off as overwhelmingly negative and I mean nothing personal toward Martinez. He might be a wonderful human being for all I know. What I DO know is that he does not belong on a major league roster. I’m 100% sure of that. You know what…scratch that, because 100% isn’t enough. As they say on an episode of Maury when discussing the paternity of a baby, I’m 300% sure.
The lack of logic and Martinez’ proven past performance enrages me. I have no desire to see him play in a Phillies uniform again. With the exception of one of those sad animal shelter commercials with the Sarah McLachlan song in it, there’s nothing I want to see less.
Yet, here he is. Michael Martinez is the baseball version of herpes. He’s the baseball version of Jason Voorhees/Michael Myers. You can’t get rid of him. In the meantime, enjoy his league-average defense and his Little League-average offense.