Sunday, January 25, 2009

Your SKO Random Third Baseman of the Day: Ramon Martinez

Name: Ramon Martinez
Height:6'1'' Weight: 187
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Years as a Cub: 2003-2004

No, Ramon, ladies Totally love the "no hair, goatee" look.

Where were you on January 2, 2003? I know where I was. I was at home, on Christmas Break, waiting for the second semester of my 8th grade year when someone told me that the Cubs had signed Ramon Martinez. I said "you mean Pedro's older brother? I mean he was pretty dominating in the 90s but he's getting up there in years. At least he'd probably beat Estes for the 5th starter job." Alas, it was not the fire-balling ace of the early 90s Dodgers that the Cubs had signed, but Ramon Martinez the light-hitting utility man. For the first two years of the Dusty Baker Era, Ramon was the go to guy off the bench as a defensive replacement anywhere on the infield. When Grudzielanek broke his hand, Ramon stepped in, when Alex Gonalez broke his arm the next year (and still didn't get awarded first base even though the ball drilled him hard enough to shatter bone), Ramon was there. Of course then Mark Grudzielanek had to get injured again and that led to the middle infield situation of 2004 that led to such fabulous players as Rey Ordonez, Damian Jackson, Jose Macias and Neifi! finding their way onto the field. But the reason Ramon is here, is because for 22 starts before the arrival of Aramis Ramirez, he was one of the last to truly be a part of the third base "hole."

I don't know why I hated Ramon Martinez so much. Perhaps it was the fact that having to watch him, Lenny Harris, and Mark Bellhorn for the first half of the season just left me with such a horrible feeling that I blamed him for a disproportionate amount of the suck. When I looked back at his stats while writing this, I realize his numbers weren't so bad. In 2003, Ramon hit .283/3/34/.333/.375 for a .708 OPS. While those numbers certainly aren't great, they really aren't bad at all for a utilityman. Even his 2004 numbers (.246/3/30/.313/.346) weren't as ANGER provoking as a Neifi Perez or a Ronny Cedeno, but Damn did I hate Ramon Martinez. Maybe it was the stupid goatee with the shaved head look, maybe it was the fact that he made me miss Alex Gonzalez, but more than likely it was his damned nonchalant attitude to striking out. I seem to remember the guy having more strikeouts looking than any player I can ever remember. Not the kind of strikeout looking where a patient hitter just doesn't get the call, but the kind of strikeout looking where he went up to the plate with a little league like mentality of "This at bat, I will swing at every pitch" or "This at bat, I will swing at nothing." It was damned infuriating.

Anyhow, Martinez was granted his free agency by the Cubs in October of 2004, as the team decided to keep Neifi! as their backup shortstop. Just. F%&king. Great. Ramon's still in the majors, having spent time with the Tigers, Phillies, Dodgers, and Mets. He's currently a free agent.