All season long, manager Ron Gardenhire has told the media and fans alike that he wants Victor Martinez to go out on his own terms. Well, that is certainly the case this weekend. Martinez told reporters on Friday that he will play his final game on Saturday at Comerica Park. Martinez said that he wants his final at-bats to be in front of the home fans. The Tigers will host an on-field ceremony to honor him before the game.
While Martinez’s last few seasons haven’t exactly gone according to plan, he was a crucial part of their four-year reign atop the AL Central from 2011 to 2014. He hit .321/.381/.487 with 58 home runs and 289 RBI in those three seasons — he missed all of 2012 due to injury — as the team’s primary designated hitter. He made one All-Star appearance in 2014, and finished second in American League MVP voting that year. Martinez also led all of baseball with a .974 OPS and 28 intentional walks in 2014.
The Tigers re-signed Martinez to a four-year contract after that career season, but a number of injuries hampered him for most of the deal. He hit .289/.351/.476 in 2016, but has posted an OPS below .700 in the other three seasons. Luckily, Martinez has enjoyed a slight resurgence in the second half of 2018, with a .710 OPS since the All-Star break.
Martinez has not received as much fanfare as other recent retirees, but he was honored by the Cleveland Indians during last weekend’s series at Progressive Field.
Martinez will not play in Sunday’s home game against the Royals, likely because he has avoided playing in day games after a night game this season. He will travel with the team during their final road trip next week, but won’t play. The Tigers finish their season against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park next weekend.