Indications are that Martinez is now a Phil for something like a million bucks with an incentives package worth $1.5 million, with an official announcement just hours away.
Recall back in spring that Martinez supposedly wanted 5 million for the year, and this was a leading reason the Mets wouldn’t bite. Well, to many it made sound sense. Obviously, he cannot ask for too much signing now in July.
From March on I have been among those calling for his return to the Mets. Others adamantly disagree, especially among the Metsmerized faithful. That’s fine. While there’s no doubt, Martinez never really did much for the Mets, he at least seemed and acted like a Met. Like all Mets fans, we wanted him to be a Cy Younger, ultimately, a huge Mets success story. He never was. So why would I clamor for his return, especially after a few truly forgettable and teeth-gnashing outings to cap the disaster that was 2008?
My feeling as far back as 2007 was that Martinez on the one-hand was an injury-prone liability but that he had never shown he was incapable of being a very good pitcher. Thirty-seven or thirty-eight years of age affects all players differently, but many pitchers can successfully pitch into their forties. Sure, they often lose power, velocity, and endurance, but HOFers and greats mix up repertoires and refine certain pitches as they age to be effective in new ways. Attitude and outlook, obviously, account for much, too.
Many of us fans felt that the Mets had done everything necessary for Petey, that now it was his turn to give back, basically in the form of accepting any offer the Mets threw his way b/c he had already cost us much heartache. At the same time, that’s really not a rational way of thinking about how professional athletes conduct themselves when trying to stay professional. Martinez has been an outstanding pitcher throughout most of his career. Did anybody really think that if he wanted to continue pitching, he was going to throw himself on the mercy of Mets management, saying, ” I know I haven’t been too good, but please let me return and you can have me for a song”? Seriously, it makes little sense.
Martinez is as driven a competitor as any other pitcher and proved his desire to help the Mets even in his capacity as injured bench guy. True, you don’t need to pay a former great millions to cheer the actual players on, but why shouldn’t a truly healthy Martinez help any team out down the stretch?
As I asked here back in March, do any of you really think Redding, Hernandez, or Nieve (at that time I include, ahem, Freddie Garcia!) will necessarily be more helpful to the Mets than a relatively healthy and engaged Martinez come August and September? Sorry, folks, but this thing has badly missed opportunity written all over it.
No one is hoping he fails like a wet firecracker more than I when he joins the Phucks rotation come the second half of August, and while I’m at it, I also vow that I’m not going to write any snippy “I-told-you-so” pieces if a typical Mets nightmare scenario comes to pass.