"I think Harvey should be monitored from now until the time [the Mets] make it to the playoffs," Martinez told Lindsay Berra on MLB Network. "But once the playoffs come, I think even Harvey would say, 'Hey, I'm all in.'"
Harvey will take the mound for the Mets on Tuesday night in a crucial game against the Nationals, with New York sitting five games ahead of second-place Washington in the National League East standings. The right-hander has already logged 166 1/3 innings this year, and he is rapidly approaching the 180-innings limit his agent, Scott Boras, has described as a season cap, something that the Mets continue to dispute.
Harvey's schedule after Tuesday through the end of the season is unclear; however, Marinez has a piece of advice for him.
"Save your bullets as much as you can now, and if you see yourself in the playoffs, Harvey, just go for it," said Martinez, who played for the Mets from 2005-08. "Not everybody gets that opportunity."
But Martinez said the athlete himself should ultimately be the person with the final say in whether he plays, considering only he truly knows how he feels and how far he can push himself.
The debate brought Martinez back to the 1999 American League Division Series between the Red Sox and the Indians. Martinez left his start in Game 1 after four innings with a back injury, and he wasn't able to start the decisive Game 5 in Cleveland.
But after 3 1/2 innings, the game was tied at 8, and Martinez came on in relief and delivered a performance that was as dominant as it was courageous. He fired six innings, did not surrender a hit and struck out eight to help lead Boston to a series victory.
"That day paid off, and I'm so proud I did it," Martinez said. "Because it put me in a place with my teammates that no one can understand unless they've been in the clubhouse with all 25 players on that roster. ...
"I think once Harvey and the Mets feel the emotions that the fanbase is going to be showing for them during the playoffs, I think they're going to change their mind if they have a different route than they had already taken."