Five-time All-Star Victor Martinez is likely calling it a career at the end of the 2018 season. The switch-hitting DH alluded to his retirement in a reflective interview with MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince.
In the interview, V-mart recalled leaving the field during last year’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays where he needed electroshock therapy to get his heart rate under control. He later learned that he suffered from an irregular heartbeat.
“I felt like I was going to fall over,” Martinez explained. He would undergo cardiac ablation surgery two months later which both ended his season and potentially prolonged his life.
The 39-year-old knew before learning of this condition that his playing days were limited. His knees have ailed him for years, and his retirement has been speculated on countlessly, but he continues to be a nuisance to pitchers at the plate. His family’s history of heart issues may finally push him to pull the trigger on retirement, though. Martinez lost his dad at age seven to a heart attack, which makes his current heart condition hit close to home for him. A husband and father, himself, Martinez does not want to make his wife and children go through that same experience.
“I want to make sure I enjoy my kids because you just never know.”
Martinez does know what life after baseball will look like, watching plenty of former teammates go through the retirement process. He understands that the challenge of leaving the game is knowing whether or not it is the right time, and he assured Castrovince that he would have no regrets.
“Honestly, I’m ready,” Martinez explained, “I think the biggest problem for athletes is they don’t know what to do after baseball. That won’t be my problem.”
V-mart is currently batting .314 with 9 RBIs early in a season in which nobody projects the Tigers to be a contender. But this is a fun group of young players, and V-Mart looks like he is enjoying what could be his final year.