This analysis of Pedro-watch is provided by new contributor Pat Gallen.
Yes, he is a future Hall-of-Famer. Yes, he has over 3,000 career strikeouts, over 200 wins, and a winning percentage north .684. Yes, his mantle is decorated with three Cy Young Awards and a World Series Trophy.
No, he is not the same pitcher he once was. No, he does not have the same heat on his fastball. No, he is no longer the ace of a rotation.
Pedro Martinez could be joining the Philadelphia Phillies after scouts liked what they saw from him during a simulated game in the Dominican Republic. He will pitch again today for the suits, wherein a decision will be made. Martinez would ink a one-year deal if the Phils determine he is the right fit.
As one of the most dominating starting pitchers ever, Martinez struggled during his final few seasons in New York, but has been working to get himself back. During his 17-year career, Pedro has amassed 214 wins against only 99 losses, with a cumulative ERA of 2.91. His name is littered among the record books. Martinez has led the league in ERA five times, win percentage three times, strikeouts three times and twelve times he won double-digit games in a season.
But it’s clear he is no longer that guy. The Phillies are not looking for that guy – they are searching for an answer at the back of the rotation. In their quest for a dependable fifth starter, the Phils have used Chan Ho Park, Rodrigo Lopez, Antonio Bastardo, and Andrew Carpenter. Park was bounced from the rotation, Carpenter was a spot starter, and Bastardo and Lopez looked decent until injuries knocked them out.
It’s a signing that has many levels to it. Pedro plugs a hole, but how well can he seal it? Let’s look at the positives, and negatives, of taking on 37-year old Pedro Martinez:
- One-year, prorated contract doesn’t cost the Phils much.
- If he is healthy, Martinez is a veteran that clearly knows how to win.
- Think Kris Benson: If he doesn’t work out, it was nice knowing you.
- His baseball IQ is through the roof – his presence can only help the rest of the staff.
- Pedro is a jovial guy. He would fit in well with this loose bunch of characters.
- Was excellent in his short stint for the Dominican in the World Baseball Classic.
- He is 37-years old, and well past his prime.
- Over the past few seasons, Pedro has been injury prone.
- Is he better than the likes of Rodrigo Lopez, Carlos Carrasco, and Antonio Bastardo, among others?
- The bullpen will not be safe with Martinez on the mound. It’s unlikely he can go more than six innings.
- Started just 25 games over his final two seasons with the New York Mets.
- He’s an ex-New York Met.
It’s a win-win for the Phils should they lock him up. While he is on the back nine of an illustrious career, Pedro Martinez could supply them with a solid back-end pitcher. And if he doesn’t, the Phillies can cut him loose and eat the small amount of money he would be owed.