Víctor Martínez (baseball)
|Detroit Tigers – No. 41|
|Designated hitter / Catcher / First baseman|
December 23, 1978 |
Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela
|Bats: Switch||Throws: Right|
|September 10, 2002 for the Cleveland Indians|
(through June 24, 2014)
|Runs batted in||874|
|Career highlights and awards|
Víctor Jesús Martínez (born December 23, 1978), also known by his nickname "V-Mart", is a Venezuelan professional baseball designated hitter (and occasional catcher or first baseman) with the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball. He has also played for the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians.
Cleveland Indians (2002–2009)
Martínez was signed by the Indians as an amateur free agent in 1996. He was named the Indians 2001 and 2002 Minor League Player of the Year (receiving the "Lou Boudreau Award"). After a pair of minor league MVP awards and batting titles in 2001 and 2002, he made his debut with Cleveland as a September call-up on September 10, 2002.
In 2003, Martínez played for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and the Indians. He finished with a combined .315 batting average, hitting at a .349 clip in August and September with the big league club. Exhibiting knowledge of the strike zone and an ability to make contact, he reduced his strikeout totals and produced a combined .376 on-base percentage. He also drove in 63 runs, hitting .323 with runners in scoring position, and was selected to participate in the All-Star Futures Game played at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field. From 2001 to 2003, the Venezuelan slugger batted a combined .330 with 40 home runs and 194 RBI.
Martínez hit .283 with 23 home runs in 2004 as the Indians starting catcher. He set a record for Indians catchers with 108 RBIs, earned his first All-Star selection, and shared the Silver Slugger honor as the top-hitting American League catcher with Iván Rodríguez. For the first time since the awards began in 1980, there was a tie at one position. On July 16, Martínez also had the best offensive night by an Indians catcher in franchise history, when he hit three home runs, singled twice, drew a walk, and drove in a career-high seven runs in a perfect 5-for-5 game.
In June 2005, Martínez was batting .207, but he came into the season's final weekend batting .382 (96-for-251) after the All-Star break, the most for any Major League player. He finished the season with a .305 average, 20 home runs and 80 RBIs. Since 2006, the Indians started using Martínez occasionally at first base. In the field in 2006, he allowed 100 stolen bases, more than any other catcher in Major League Baseball. In 2007, he hit 25 home runs, had 114 RBIs (more than any other catcher) and finished seventh in American League MVP voting.
On July 5, 2009, Martínez was selected to represent Cleveland in the 2009 All Star Game. His departure from the Indians after being traded on the last day of the same month created a public relations problem for the ballclub. The team had scheduled two separate Martínez-related promotional giveaways (bobbleheads on August 1, chest protector backpacks five days later) for dates subsequent to the transaction. Both promotions went off as planned.
Boston Red Sox (2009–2010)
On July 31, 2009, Martínez was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price. Martínez would regularly play between first base and catcher, catching usually for the younger pitchers within the rotation, with some of the veteran starting pitchers opting for Red Sox captain Jason Varitek.
Following the season, the Red Sox exercised his 2010 option for $7.1 million.
On June 28, 2010, Martínez suffered a fractured left thumb, and was placed on the 15-day DL. He finished the 2010 season with a .302 batting average with 20 home runs and 79 runs batted in.
Detroit Tigers (2011–present)
On November 23, 2010, Martínez and the Tigers organization reached an agreement on a four-year $50 million contract. On March 31, 2011, Martínez made his debut for the Tigers as a designated hitter against the New York Yankees. Martínez was used almost exclusively as a designated hitter for the 2011 season, playing only 26 games at catcher and 6 games at first base. He had a slow start to the season, batting .250 in the month of April with two home runs, but he then batted .337 in May and .370 in June. Although his power numbers were down, with only 12 home runs all season, he posted his best career batting average (.330, good for fourth best in the American League) and had his fourth career 100 RBI season (103). He also led the Major Leagues in batting average with runners in scoring position, hitting .394.
Martínez tore his anterior cruciate ligament during off-season training in Lakeland, Florida and missed the entire 2012 season. On March 12, Martínez was placed on the 60-day disabled list. On June 22, owner Mike Ilitch reported that Martínez's rehab was progressing better than expected and that he may rejoin the Detroit Tigers in August or September but Martínez never played all season. On August 17, athletic trainer Kevin Rand officially announced that Martínez would in fact not return for the 2012 season, and that his rehab would instead target a return in 2013.
Martínez started slowly in 2013. Through the end of June, he was hitting just .232. From July 1 onward, however, he hit at a .367 clip, contributing to a final line of .301, 14 home runs and 83 RBIs. It marked the sixth season that Martínez topped .300, and he also set career highs in hits (182) and at-bats (605).
Entering the 2014 season, new Tigers manager Brad Ausmus indicated that he wanted Martínez to be prepared to catch, particularly during interleague games in a national league ballpark where there is no designated hitter. On April 23, 2014, Victor singled in the ninth inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox for his 1,500th career hit.
On July 6, 2014, Victor was selected in the player voting to participate in his fifth AL All-Star game, and his first as a Tiger.
- "Minor League Player of the Year by Team". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
- "Cabrera, Laffey Receive '07 Honors". Scout.com. November 28, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
- "Yearly League Leaders & Records for Stolen Bases Allowed as C". Retrieved December 3, 2011.
- "Victor Martínez, Biography and Career Highlights". Cleveland Indians.
- Hoynes, Paul (August 1, 2009). "Cleveland Indians trade Victor Martinez to Boston Red Sox for three pitchers". The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH).
- "Red Sox deal three for Victor M". Sports.espn.go.com. August 1, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- Cafardo, Nick (November 9, 2009). "Sox pick up V-Mart option". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
- "Big League Stew: Aggressive Tigers sign Victor Martínez to four-year deal". Yahoo Sports. November 23, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
- "Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees". mlb.com. March 31, 2011. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
- "Victor Martinez of Detroit Tigers tears ACL, likely needs season-ending surgery". ESPN.go.com. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
- "Victor Martinez Injury: Tigers DH Could Return By August, According To Team Owner". detroit.sbnation.com. June 22, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
- "It's official: V-Mart will not play in 2012". mlb.com. August 17, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
- Gleeman, Aaron (February 14, 2014). "Brad Ausmus wants Victor Martinez catching again". HardballTalk. NBCSports.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- "Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers". clarosports.com. April 23, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
- "All-Stars unveiled, including 25 first-timers". mlb.mlb.com. July 6, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
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|Awards and achievements|
|Indians Minor League Player of the Year
(the Lou Boudreau Award)