Commentary

Michael Martinez: the last man standing

Have you been paying attention to the playoffs this year? In case you haven’t, the World Seriesmm started last night and former Phillies “utility man extraordinaire” Michael Martinez is on the roster of the Cleveland Indians.

That’s right. I’ll say it again.

Michael Martinez is PLAYING in the World Series.

We remember Martinez on the 2011, record-breaking Phillies club as a world-class defensive utility man who played all three outfield spots, as well as some second and third base. Here we are in 2016 – five years and four team switches (second stint with Cleveland) later – and Michael Martinez is the last former Phillies player from the 2007-11 era alive in the playoffs.

When Martinez came up with the Phils as a rookie in 2011, he was 28. That’s not young in baseball. He’s 34 now and, again, finds himself in the World Series.

He has outlasted Chase Utley, Carlos RuizHunter Pence and Cole Hamels in the 2016 season. He has outlasted Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino on the diamond itself. Rollins is out of baseball after being released from the White Sox in June and was seen on TBS as an analyst for the games Martinez was playing in. Let that one sink in. Victorino was released by the Cubs in May, never reaching the majors this season. Although Rollins and Victorino are older than Martinez (Rollins by three years, Victorino by just one), who would have thought Martinez would still be playing, and in a World Series?

Martinez, to this point, has even surpassed marginal players such as Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr., who are both younger than Martinez. Though that’s not the most ringing of endorsements for Martinez, both Brown and Mayberry played in the majors in the 2015. Neither player appeared in a single game for a major league club in 2016. And then we have Martinez who played in 63 games this year – whose salary isn’t updated on his own Baseball Reference page. Cot’s baseball contracts doesn’t even have a number to Martinez’s name. It simply says, “minor-league contract.” But hey, he’s in the World Series.

Martinez’s existence on this earth completely slipped our minds until this last week or so. And if you haven’t been following the playoffs, this is probably the first you’re hearing of the magical reappearance of Mini-Mart. But the now 34-year-old from the Dominican Republic is alive and well, playing the role of Mr. Utility for a club managed by Terry Francona in the World Series.

Yeah, I’m scratching my head too.

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