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Anything but More Pedro!

By Dan Kulik

The Mets nation -- pardon the tirelessly-recycled term -- is capable of producing some thoroughly frustrating nuggets of fandom. Whether it’s the annual offseason clamoring for Manny, the over-hyped minor-league prospects, or the smattering of boos poured onto the freshly-acquired Johan Santana at the 2008 home opener -- it can get to be a little much. The best contemporary example is the current contingent of Met fans that calls for the return of the great Pedro Martinez.

Pedro is a World Series champion, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, a first ballot Hall of Famer, and arguably the best hurler of a generation. Sadly though, he has not been a productive major league pitcher in three years and he won't be one in 2009. The daydreamers who will tell you otherwise are too enamored with Martinez's storied past to face the grim reality of what he has become: a has-been.

Pedro proponents tend to preoccupy themselves with his "intangible" contributions to the club’s success. You’ll hear things like “He legitimized the organization”, “Without Pedro we wouldn’t have signed Beltran”, or “He’s a fun guy and loosens up the club house”. From what I've gathered, yes, Pedro seems like an easy-going, all around fun guy. I admit, I’d love to spend a day at the carnival just me and Pedro. We’d grab some cotton candy and ride the teacups ‘til the sun went down. That would be an absolute gas. Unfortunately, affability is not a statistic measured by the Elias Sports Bureau, nor is it an adequate substitute for on-the-field production.

In that department -- production that is -- Martinez has been south of stellar. In the last three years (making about $13 mil per year, mind you), Pedro pitched only 269 2/3 innings to the tune of an ERA close to 5. With another year under his belt, there is no legitimate reason to believe he'll be any healthier or more effective in 2009. And please, spare us the WBC propaganda. So he struck out a bunch of lousy Dutchmen who probably aren't fit to grace the ranks of the Washington Nationals singe-A affiliate...very impressive. I think I'm a little more inclined to base my evaluation of him on his three years of futility than two games against a band of bush-leaguers from Europe.

"So why don't the Mets sign Pedro only if they can get him on the cheap?" the pro-Pedro fanatic asks. You know what? I don’t want Pedro even if it is on the cheap (the cheap being $1-$3 million). Let him take a minor league deal so he can scratch and claw for the fifth spot like everyone else. The Mets shouldn’t even guarantee him a major league roster spot. When he inevitably fails as a starter, he's useless out of the pen, given his uncanny propensity for getting shelled in the first inning.

It makes no sense to sign Pedro just because he's Pedro. Look at the evidence. He's a fragile old man who hasn't pitched well since May of 2006. Simple as that. Livan Hernandez is a lock to give you a minimum of 180-200 innings. So Livan's ERA will hover somewhere around 5...who cares? Not only will he eat innings for breakfast, lunch and dinner, keeping the bullpen comfortably fresh, but he'll do it for a hell of a lot less than $8 million. It's all you can ask for and then some from a 5th starter.

So to Pedro I say this: Thank you for having one good year out of the four the Mets signed you for. Thank you for filling seats and selling jerseys. Thank you for dancing in the dugout and “keeping the team loose”. Goodbye, Pedro, and good luck finding a team that thinks you're worth anywhere near $5-$8 million.

3 comments:

  1. Theres a chance Pedro could have a good year, but there is no way he's worth $5 mil. 1-2 maybe, but im happy with the Livan and then Jon Niese setup. Pedro just isnt worth the money and the distraction.

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  2. Did you see him in the WBC? I don't care who he was facing, Pedro looked incredible. Im sorry, but there is no way that I can live with Livan Hernandez. Pedro is worth 5 mil.

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  3. a deep pitching staff and veteran leadership are two key things, and areas where the mets can improve on, personally i enjoy pedro and think he'd bring both qualities to the team

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