But just like last season, the next day never came. The Mets were eliminated in the final game at Shea Stadium, and Martinez was forced to walk away with his future in doubt and only his mind to tend to.
Martinez cannot fall back on baseball anymore following the passing of his father in July, because he doesn't even know if the Mets have him in their plans for 2009. But even though tomorrow is uncertain, Martinez cannot thank his teammates and coaches enough for support offered during those tough times.
"I hope someday I can repay them," Martinez said.
Despite his desire to play with the Mets, Martinez said the organization has given him no indication as to whether it will be interested in his services next season. Although it would be his 17th season in the Major Leagues, Martinez said Sunday that his body feels healthy enough to pitch. He finished the season with a 5-6 record and a 5.61 ERA.
What still bothers him is his family situation, which was thrown into chaos by his 79-year-old father Pablo's passing in the Dominican. While Martinez came off the bereavement list July 29, he would be lying if he said his state of mind is more solid than his uncertain future with the team.
"It hasn't changed so far," Martinez said of negotiations with the Mets, "but I am going to take myself some time to rest, to finally finish taking care of all the problems that are around in my family after my father passing away. [I want to] get my mind straight, hopefully clear my mind. If my body continues to go the way it is, hopefully I will come back next year and see you next year. If not here, somewhere."
As Martinez walked out the clubhouse door at Shea, it was certainly the last time. Even if he wears a Mets uniform next season, Martinez will pitch at Citi Field.
Either way, Martinez said he does not regret being a Met. For this year, despite an undesirable ending, he is forever in debt to this team.
"I am really proud," Martinez said, "but this is not the way I want to go home."
Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.