A couple of days ago there was a photo in the paper of a smiling Pedro Martinez having a good time preparing for that annoying WBC with fellow Dominicans, such as, ahem, Moises Alou–didn’t that tell me all I needed to know?. He was wearing a Mets cap, and it took me a minute to realize that he isn’t really a Met anymore. That kind of affected me. I wasn’t sure why at first because, like almost everybody else, I felt his time as a Met had a come and gone. And in the end, Martinez proved a disappointment.
Consider that in the last six weeks of our miserable 2008 finish Petey went 0-3 with an ERA that even his mom is probably deeply ashamed of. For crying out loud, it was nearly 7.00! Martinez ended the season with a disturbing ERA for his standards, 5.61. I saw him pitch in St. Louis in July when he got absolutely shellacked in the first inning (seemed to be his wont of late), but then continued on for a few more and actually pitched well. Overall, however, his performances more or less convinced us all that his time had come and gone. Crawling from the wreckage of the 2008 season, we clearly had to admit that Martinez, at 37, was not only not the future of the Mets, but that he was dispensable.
And through February I hadn’t given this much more thought. Then I started that dangerous process of second-guessing. Tim Redding, Freddy Garcia, Livan Hernandez, and Jon(athon) Niese. Let’s admit it, with the exception of the kid, Niese, do any of us really think the other three are seriously going to do a much better job than a healthy Pmart–healthy of course being the most important word here? That’s what I thought you’d say.
Martinez just said the proverbial “I feel great.” Doesn’t that remind us of Moises Alou and his projected 500 ABs last year. OMG! But, seriously, people, think about it: Redding? Garcia?? El Duque’s brother? The best any of us can say about these guys (No, I’m not ready to say it about Garcia till proven differently.) is that they eat innings. Honestly, I think Garcia is finished. Redding is a possibility, so I say let him be our main, mid-innings go-to reliever. Hernandez…he’ll work out about as well as Chan Ho Park or Victor Zambrano. Sorry, I am hating the prospect of watching it unfold.
Now, as big a disappointment as Petey has been–no WS ring, no Cy Young, no 20-game season, etc.–his record since 2005 is 37-23 with an ERA of 3.87. That doesn’t exactly stink. What stunk were the injuries, and there’s absolutely no guarantee that he won’t go down in his first Mets start in ’09 with something that will put him on the bench for a looonnnggg time. I know this and you know this.
But all in all, I would sooner give the ball to Pedro in April than the other four combined. By the way, once we cut Garcia, what’s the risk? If Pedro falls on his face after six or seven miserable starts, you then go to Redding or Hernandez. Niese is not on target at this point. I know this isn’t going to happen, but at 37 I’m simply not convinced that Martinez, with (need I remind you?) three Cy Youngs under his belt, is necessarily washed up. No, I don’t think he’s going to return to form, but I do think he’s got some good pitching left in him, and I’d like to see him contribute to the 2009 World Series Championship.
Let’s Go Mets!