Lost in the mist and muddle of this offseason has been the mysterious disappearance of Pedro Martinez from our collective consciousness. Isn't it somewhat surprising how little Pedro has been mentioned this offseason? We're talking about one of the best pitchers in baseball history, who has been strangely ignored this offseason like he has coodies or something.
The reality here is that Pedro is nothing more than a fifth starter right now. Since his surgery in 2006, Pedro's stuff has not been the same and too often he has been forced to rely on his guts and guile to pitch out of tough situations. He finished the 2008 season with an unimpressive 5-6 record, a 5.61 ERA, and an ugly 1.569 WHIP. Those are some ugly numbers.
There was talk in the beginning of the offseason that Pedro was drawing some interest from the Mets. Thankfully, they didn't. The Marlins were also rumored to have some interest in Pedro, but that proved to be hogwash. Outside of the Mets and Marlins, the market for Pedro has been dead quiet, which has to be concerning for the three time Cy Young award winner.
Pedro's 2008 was so bad that I understand why no team wants to go after him right now. But at the same time, there is no denying that Pedro is popular amongst fans and players and he is still a draw at the gate. Even towards the end of Pedro's run with the Mets, there was still a buzz when he took the hill, simply because he was Pedro Martinez, one of the best players in baseball. People want to see this guy pitch...especially when he is on.
In these rough economic times, I'm surprised that not one team has opted to take a flier on Martinez hoping that his mere presence would somewhat excite the fan base. Mediocre fans still know who Pedro Martinez is and the name recognition alone could bring some added fans to the stands.
So will someone take a shot on Pedro? Maybe. If he has a good WBC, then I could see someone taking a chance on Pedro. Or if a starting pitcher gets hurt, I could see a club taking a look at Pedro hoping that he recaptures some of his old magic. Would a team like the Pirates or Marlins take a chance on Pedro somewhere down the road? Debatable.
But right now, it's going to continue to be a tough go of things for Martinez. Teams obviously feel pretty strongly that Pedro is just not worth it at this point and that his skills have declined too much for him to be successful. I hope that Pedro gets a chance to come back and pitch well, because man, that guy is fun to watch and an amazing competitor.
Good luck, Pedro.