The Philadelphia Phillies have had their fair share of questions this season concerning pitching, offense, defense and just about everything else. And while the organization has attempted to answer some of these in their own way, it hasn’t alleviated some of the fans’ concerns, not the least of which seeks to answer why 30-year-old Michael Martinez and his .189 career average is still on the team’s roster.
There is a reason why most of Martinez’s career has been spent in the minor leagues. He just isn’t a good major league player in any sense of the word. Since 2011, however, Martinez has found himself a member of the Phillies’ 40-man roster at least once each season. He has bounced back and forth but much to the dismay of fans, he just keeps coming back.
Are we to believe that Martinez, who has just 66 hits in 350 career at-bats, keeps making his way on to the roster because he is deserving of a spot? Of course not. The more likely scenario is that he has some sort of blackmail on Ruben Amaro Jr. Either that, or Amaro really is as bad a GM as most have come to think he is, because there is nothing about Martinez that deserves to be on this or any major league roster.
Try as you might, but you will not find a logical explanation for why he still is on a major league roster because one does not exist. Yes, he is a utility man with the ability to play infield and outfield positions including center field, a needed position since Ben Revere‘s injury, but I’d venture to guess the Phillies can find someone with the same ability.
Take for example Cesar Hernandez or Freddy Galvis. The 23-year-old switch-hitting Hernandez is a second baseman by nature, but has spent a portion of this season moonlighting as a center fielder since his chances to make this team at an infield position are slim to none at this time.
And while the experiment is still a work in progress, Hernandez’s bat is not. He is never going to be a gold glove at any position, but if he can keep hitting .309 with 30 stolen bases, his value is greater than that of Martinez even if he hits just .200.
The also 23-year-old Galvis is another middle infielder by trade. However, unlike Hernandez, it is his glove that is really his most impressive and awe-worthy tool. He is never going to win a batting title and will probably never hit .300, but his career average of .218 makes him .19 points more valuable than Martinez at the plate. He has spent a little time in the outfield and could likely play center if he needed to. He may not win a gold glove there, but I think he could post a .976 fielding percentage or better.
Plus, since both Hernandez and Galvis are owed practically nothing, they represent cheaper options than Martinez anyway. There is nothing but upside to promoting Galvis or Hernandez, or even someone like Tyson Gilles, whose .245 average between double and triple-A this year would represent an upgrade over Martinez.
And hopefully with September call-ups on the horizon, someone with some say will figure this out and give one of these kids a shot.
None of the three might ever be All-Stars, but it is really hard to disappoint when the guy you are replacing is managing just a .167 average and .167 OBP on the season.