Once last season ended and throughout the off-season I thought that Pedro Martinez would be just a memory of days gone by. I didn’t hold a grudge against Pedro but he was hurt more often than not and did not earn the big contract he was given. Pedro was brought here to bring the Mets a championship but never delivered one. In 2006, the one year that the Mets did make the playoffs he was unable to play due to injuries. I appreciated all that Pedro had done in his career and the energy he brought back to the Mets but I thought our relationship with him was over.
Pedro is a proud athlete and last year was a horrible year for him professionally and personally. Pedro felt good throughout the spring but in his first game of the season against the Marlins he got hurt and was put on the DL again. Pedro was also dealing with his father’s illness and subsequent death. The smiling Pedro who danced in the dugout and played around with a plastic bat was not to be seen. He looked tired and defeated. Pedro’s fastball was hardly reaching 90 and his body was aching. Many had written him off and figured he would retire and in 2014 would be inducted into the hall of fame. Pedro, being the proud athlete that he is did not want to be remembered for the 2008 season. Pedro decided to get himself in shape during the off-season for the WBC and decided that he would use the tournament as a calling card for one last chance to pitch in the major leagues. He pitched in 2 games for the Dominican Republic during the classic. In each game he pitched 3 innings, giving up only 1 hit. He didn’t allow a walk and his fastball reached over 90, something that was a rarity last season. More impressive he pitched on 2 days rest. He reportedly felt no pain something that once again was a rarity last season. Also he was smiling and dancing and having a good time again.
I know some fans feel that Pedro and the Mets are done but I think they need to reevaluate that opinion. Some have written off Pedro’s performance against The Netherlands saying that they are a AA team at best. What about Tim Redding? He got smacked around by the University of Michigan, a college team. Do you really think he can handle being a number 5 guy? Now that he is injured again that rules him out for the number 5 spot to start the season. Freddy Garcia has been a bust. Garcia either cannot throw above 85 anymore or is too scared of hurting his shoulder if he goes above 85. Either way he is not a viable option for the number 5 spot and I don’t expect him to be on the team come Opening Day. Livan Hernandez has faired better than Redding and Garcia but is not the pitcher he once was. He claims to be 34 but I think he’s older. Jon Niese is not ready for the big leagues just yet. The Mets have all but said that themselves. The Mets have a history of rushing their young pitchers to the majors so for them to say that Niese is not ready yet, you know he needs more time to develop and it’s not wise to rush his development. If The Mets do sign Pedro to a contract and he does get hurt they can call up Niese from AAA Buffalo.
It was reported yesterday that the Mets are among the teams that have begun to request financial requirements for Pedro. There are reports that Pedro is seeking a deal like the one John Smoltz received from the Red Sox. The terms of that deal is: a guaranteed, one-year, $5.5 million, with $5 million in incentives. I think that Pedro coming off the year he had last season will have to lower his price. I think the Mets should give him a 1 year, $2 million deal with $5 million in incentives. I think it’s a fair deal for both sides as the Mets get a number 5 and Pedro gets to prove that he can still pitch. I think the rotation with a healthy Pedro Martinez is a dominant one that will help bring the Mets a championship.