Year In Review: Pedro Martinez – Phillies Nation
2009 Year in Review

Year In Review: Pedro Martinez

You’d have to go back a long time to find a pitcher in Phillies pinstripes who had a better career resume than Pedro Martinez. In his day, he was as dominant as any right-handed pitcher ever to play the game.

So even though he would turn 38 during the playoffs, and even though his previous three seasons could best be described as “injury-riddled” or “mediocre,” the Phillies, in a scene straight out of a thousand movies, talked him into giving it one last spin.

And you know what? In 12 starts, counting the postseason, he wasn’t too bad. It was obvious that this wasn’t the turn-of-the-century Pedro who was so dominant he looked bored half the time. But he maintained his impeccable control (4.63 K/BB ratio for the regular season), changed arm angles, and could still reach back for a low-90s fastball a couple times a game.

All in all, what turned out to be a low-risk deal for $1 million plus incentives paid off quite well. By the time he signed in mid-July, the Phillies had, for months, trotted out a finally over-the-hill Jamie Moyer and a parade of fringe veterans and AAA kids who might not have quite been ready. Pedro stepped into the fifth starter’s spot and pitched well enough that he warranted three outings in the playoffs. And that’s where this gets complicated.

In his first start, Game 2 of the NLCS, Pedro looked like he had been cryogenically frozen after the 1999 season and the Phillies had decided to decant him for the occasion. Seven shutout innings, only two baserunners allowed, 23 batters faced, only 87 pitches thrown. Of course, the Phillies eventually lost when Chase Utley started throwing to an imaginary fifteen-foot high first baseman.

But Uncle Cholly was impressed enough to throw Pedro back into the fray for Game 2 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. He didn’t pitch badly, even amid a chorus of “Who’s Your Daddy?” chants. He struck out eight Yankees in six innings, but he took the loss when either A.J. Burnett had the game of his life, or the Phillies hitters just forgot to show up.

Game 6 was a different story. All I’ll say about that game is that Andy Pettitte didn’t pitch that great either, and while Pedro could have saved the series by throwing a three-hit shutout, I don’t know if it was reasonable to expect him to do that.

So for a good half-season, an up-and-down playoff run, and the best Jheri curl since Michael Jackson’s Thriller album cover, I thank you, Pedro Martinez, and wish you well.

2009 numbers: 5-1, 3.63 ERA, 44.2 IP, 37 K, .276 BAA, 1.25 WHIP, 4 HBP

Grade: 5.5/10—Let’s face it, he was an average pitcher for half a season, and that World Series Game 6 was something of a stinker. But an effective and entertaining starter in July on a “Why not?” signing is worth at least a golf clap.



  1. Paul Boye

    February 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I’ll give a hearty smattering of golf applause.

  2. Phylan

    February 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I don’t know what was with Pedro in that last game, but his velocity was way down and he couldn’t locate anything. I think his fastball was topping out at like 85-86, where it had been in the 88-90 range in previous starts. Cholly probably left in too long for that one also.

    My only caveat would be if you adjusted this grade for what we expected and what they paid them, it would be higher.

  3. Johnny

    February 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    True. He also didn’t pitch very deep into the game.

  4. Manny

    February 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    5.5 is kinda low.. look at that ERA! And, overall he was good in the playoffs… (1 excellent start, 1 good start, 1 poor start). He definitely exceeded expectations.

    (NOTE: this doens’t mean I want him back for 2010, unless it’s some very cheap deal… I think he doesn’t have the gas left for an entire regular season —neither does Moyer…)

  5. Ben

    February 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    wasn’t there a case of the flu bug going around the club house during the series and pedro was quite sick for his game 6 start? i’m not joking about that either, i heard he had a high fever and was pretty weak, but it was his turn and he took the ball.

  6. Bob in Bucks

    February 3, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Pedro definitely looked sick during Game 6. Had a hard time concentrating and looked very pale. I can believe the high fever and weakness. He was a good soldier but I don’t think I would have left him in. I would have gone with Park after four innings.

  7. Dudley Monk

    February 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    BoB in Bucks — You are right, there was a flu bug and Pedro had the flu, if my memory serves me well. Frankly, I would consider signing him on as a fifth starter with a heavy-laden incentive contract.

  8. Manny

    February 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Chan Ho also had the flu during the World Series!

  9. Greg V.

    February 3, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I’d be fine with signing Martinez again. True, he was awful in Game 6. But he was phenominal in the NLDS and in some other games throughout his brief time with the club. I would be a lot more comfortable with him as the 5th starter than some of the other candidates they seem to want to march out there.

  10. The Dipsy

    February 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Pedro as a fifth starter would be great. I heard he wants 5m. L’il high I think. Need the bullpen lefty more though. I happen to think that Kendrick is going to win that job and I think he’ll be fine. I think Charlie should think about putting Jamie in that 1 2/3 inning lefty role. I think that using Jamie, Contreras and Durbin in those early relief innings might be a good thing.

    The Dipsy

  11. Bobby D

    February 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Pedro earns points in my book simply for being interesting. The whole “will they, won’t they” with the try outs and subsequent signing coupled with the “oh man….they actually signed him, I hope this works” portion of the season followed by the rain shortened outings with Moyer coming in in relief made the games a little more interesting. Pedro pitching always draws a crowd and even international attention. He pitched well enough. I still think Charlie tried too hard to push Pedro in the Series though. 5.5 seems fitting.

    As far as being the 5th starter this year, that’s a lot of money to throw at that position when they’re already paying Moyer (who I think we won’t see much of this season, gut feeling) and there are less expensive players in place who are worth a look in KK and Contreras.

  12. George

    February 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Pedro’s stats appear to me to be better than average (excellent W/L record, good ERA, excellent K/BB ratio, good WHIP). That’s a lot easier to accomplish, though, when you only pitch half a season. He may have fallen apart had he pitched longer. That’s why he hasn’t been signed yet for the money he’s asking. He may be fine, but no one trusts his stamina.

    Even if he’d been Cy Young, since he only pitched half the year his rating has to be lowered. 5.5 is about right.

  13. Chuck

    February 3, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I would think that the 5th starter job is Kendrick’s to LOSE..certainly Contreras, Moyer or even someone like Pedro would probably be a good alternative.

    But 5M for Pedro?? I really don’t see him getting that….from anybody.

  14. GWFightinsfan

    February 3, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I’m glad Pedro pitched for the Phillies….even though we didnt win the Series, having a legend like Pedro in Phillies pinstripes kinda adds to the memory and the overall lore of this little run the organization is on.

  15. Chuck

    February 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Other members of the “lore” club (ex-Phils)

    Matt Stairs–THAT home run!!
    Cliff Lee–too much to list
    Chris Coste–fan favorite
    Scott Eyre–goofy, good guy
    Pat Burrell–all the years…
    Geoff Jenkins—the leadoff double in Game 5, Act 2
    Eric Bruntlett–(Yes, he deserves to be on this list).. The triple play.

    I’m sure there are others…Thanks to all of them and all the memories

    Let’s keep the”little run” going!!

  16. Blaise

    February 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    So Taguchi – much less valuable than bruntlett, amazing that he was even on the team in 2008
    Pedro Feliz – clutch-i-est hit in Phillies history, possibly?
    Brett Myers – in your face, CC Sabathia, NLDS 2008

  17. Dudley Monk

    February 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    The Phils signed Freddie Guzman to a minor league contract.

  18. Chuck

    February 3, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    How could I have forgotten Myers…and the 2008 NLDS??!!

  19. WFC010

    February 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    At this point, I would rather take a chance with Wang since he’s like a decade younger than Pedro, and still has the ability to be absolutely DOMINATING when healthy. That said, Pedro would still be an excellent 5th starter to have on the cheap. Guess we’ll see what happens…

  20. Greg

    February 3, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Pedro was more than a 5.5. He was pitching very well in late august early Sept.

  21. WFC010

    February 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    One of my favorite Pedro memories was that one AMAZING game he had against the Mets in like late August…I forget the exact date, but it was like the single most impressive game Pedro had with us, besides that Dodgers NLCS game.

  22. Chris.I

    February 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    I agree…5.5 is absolutely incorrect. He deserves atleast an even 7 to 7.5. If he pitched better in the WS I would even say he deserved an 8-8.5

  23. WFC010

    February 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I understand the point of pro-rating Pedro’s score since it wasn’t a full season, but 5.5 was still too low of a score. He deserved somewhere between a 6 and 7.5 if you ask me, when you consider that he gave us a lot more good than bad during his time here.

  24. shag beta sigma delta

    February 3, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    I like the 5.5, His first two starts were one inning rain delayed games, which I think Moyer got both wins. And I think his velocity started to dip even before the WS game, which to me says he could not got every fifth day all year long. Weren’t most of his starts during the season on more then 4 days of rest? That is why I do not think you can give him much more then a 6 tops.
    Also that is why I do not like him in the fifth starter roll, unless say, he comes real cheap and you go with a 6 man rotation with him and Moyer pitching every other fifth starter spot. I know that will not happen, but that is the only way I see him going for the long haul of a full season.
    I like giving KK a shot, along with Moyer and maybe some young arms from the minors. I think they proved last year you can get through the season on mixing up the 5th spot, since you only need 4 or maybe 3 starters come playoff time

  25. MikeB.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:05 am

    If Pedro was sick in that last World Series game, maybe he should have given up the start to Happ. Wonder how the game would have turned out? If Hamels and Lidge would have pitched up to expectations earlier in the WS then maybe Pedro would not have been pit on the spot pitching sick with the flu.

  26. Brooks

    February 4, 2010 at 1:50 am

    I was at a few of the games Pedro started during the year (rain and all). His performance during the year was pretty steady, we grew to expect to see a decent performance when he pitched. We certainly did not have quite that same cozy when say, Hamels pitched. His ERA was better than Jo’s –
    I would definitely say during the year (yes, in the limited starts he had) Pedro did a more than adequate job as the teams #5 starter. His grade should be higher than 5.5.
    That said, I too would be very interested in Wang as my low risk chance.

  27. Dudley Monk

    February 4, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Oscar Villarreal is now in the Phillies stable of minor league relief pitchers.

  28. Philly Texan

    February 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I give Pedro a ton of credit. He pitched way above my expectations — at least when he wasn’t facing Matsui.

    Sure, he only pitched half a season, but so what? That’s all we asked of him. And all he had to give. He pitched well and won games and helped the Phils win the division. Period. He performed well for a 5th starter. I was opposed to signing Pedro at first, but I was wrong. That was a good mid-season pickup.

  29. Don M

    February 4, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    He is easily rated a 7.12673 in my book, not quite a 7.2, but damn close!

  30. Chuck

    February 4, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Who’s your Daddy??!!

  31. Joel V.

    February 4, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    A 5.5 our 10 rating tells me you expected alot more out Pedro than what we received. Not sure if it was logical to expect a 40 yr old pitcher who hasn’t pitched effectively in a few years to do much more than what he did. But alas, that is your opinion!

  32. jrollpatrol08

    February 4, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    i agree with most on here—all good thoughts. i would probably give him a little higher than 5.5. yea he really stuck it up in game 6 of the WS at the bronx (kind of an important game) so he deserves to be knocked down a bit, but should still be about a 7 since value-wise it was a great return on a 1mil investment. he didnt look real sharp in game 6 at all, but it just didnt help that matsui was completely all over pedro’s game. dude just had a great game; could have single-handedly beat the phils in that game.

    i was kind of surprised to see the comments that support the idea of bringing him back as 5th starter. i would definitely go for it, if his asking price comes down a bit. since there are probably some questions about his long-term durability, teams around the league are probably hesitant to get pedro at 5million. if it comes down a little bit i hope the phils lock him up another year. you cant underestimate the kind of experience a future HOF pitcher brings to the staff/clubhouse.

    haha…pedro definitely adds ‘lore’ to the little run we are on.

  33. SteveW

    February 5, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Best moment was the NYPost photoshop of Pedro in a diaper – and Pedro’s response of “Check out the unit on Baby Pedro!”

    Actually I thought he was real good. He ran out of gas in the last game, but they overstretched him. They really didn’t have anyone else at that point. If he’s well rested in August, I’d give him a call.

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