Former Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez was in New York yesterday for a promotion and sat down with Max Dickstein of amNewYork for a short Q & A session. It was your typical interview until Pedro was asked for his opinion on the Mets and the Yankees. He answered the Yankee part of the question in one sentence, but had quite a few things to say about the Mets. It started out so innocently…
“The Mets need to get healthy and get their pitching going, especially the front two guys.”
Fair enough. It’s true that the Mets, just like many other teams, need to get healthy. Carlos Beltran still hasn’t regained his pre-injury form and needs to do so soon, especially since he’s batting in a spot in the order where offensive production is essential. Similarly, when Jason Bay returns from the concussion he suffered while making his Aaron Rowand-esque catch at Dodger Stadium, he must stop being the singles hitter he was in the first half of the season and channel the pre-2010 Jason Bay the Mets thought they had signed.
Pedro was also correct when assessing the Mets’ pitching staff. Other than the surprising R.A. Dickey, the pitching has been very inconsistent this year. The top two starters in the rotation (Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey) have had stretches of brilliance, followed by poor outings. In the case of Pelfrey, he had two and a half months of All-Star caliber performances, followed by an unexpected morphing into Charlie Brown on the mound with other teams constantly pounding him start after start, especially in the first inning.
Of course, Pedro could have stopped right there. But since he’s Pedro, he had more to say, especially on One Particular Over-Priced Ostracized Pariah who has started and relieved for the Mets this season.
“I think, whether they like it or not, Oliver Perez should be in the rotation, getting better. He’s got too good of an arm to be wasted in the bullpen.”
Apparently, Pedro has spent his time away from baseball drinking from the same Kool-Aid that ownership was chugging when they gave Luis Castillo a four-year contract and Oliver Perez $36 million for his 36 cent performance.
Since the beginning of 2009, Oliver Perez has not resembled anything close to a major league pitcher. His walk totals have been astronomical and his ERA is higher than Carlos Zambrano’s blood pressure after a blown call. The Mets have placed him on the disabled list several times over the past two years in an effort to heal injuries they believed were contributing to his poor performances. Every time he’s returned from the DL, he’s come back just as ineffective as he was before the DL stint. Oliver Perez wasn’t even pitching particularly well against minor league hitters during his rehab assignment prior to his most recent “promotion” from the disabled list last month. The lack of control was still there and the inability to limit his pitch count continued against inexperienced minor leaguers.
Of course, Pedro thinks the solution to all that ails Ollie is to be inserted back into the starting rotation. He thinks Ollie’s arm is too good to be wasted in the bullpen. So where SHOULD we waste his arm then? I wouldn’t even draft Ollie for my company’s softball team. Ollie HAD a great arm. He just never learned how to use it. He seems to be more content with taking his paycheck to the bank than honing the craft that caused him to get that paycheck in the first place.
If you thought that was all Pedro had to say on the loopy lefty, you’ve got another think coming. Pedro had this final statement on how Oliver Perez can get better.
“Someone needs to find a way to do what I was doing, just keeping Oliver concentrated on the things he had to do.”
Well, blow me down! Apparently, Pedro Martinez was Oliver Perez’s pitching coach while they were teammates from July 31, 2006 to the end of the 2008 season. After Ollie was traded to the Mets at the 2006 trade deadline, he didn’t exactly set the world on fire, going 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA over seven starts over the final two months of the ’06 season. Oliver Perez did have an excellent 2007, but how much of that was due to Pedro Martinez’s input? Pedro spent the majority of that season on the disabled list. Was he calling Oliver Perez’s direct line in the dugout with advice whenever he faced a tough spot on the mound? Or was Rick Peterson responsible for Ollie’s one good season as a Met? You remember Rick, don’t you, Pedro? He was the man who was in the dugout every time Oliver Perez started a game in 2007. He was the man who talked to him every day and went out to the mound every time Ollie started to falter. Was that you doing that or Rick Peterson?
So I guess Pedro Martinez was the man who kept Oliver Perez focused on the mound. Since Pedro isn’t pitching this season, perhaps the Mets would be wise to hire him as a pitching consultant, since according to him, he’s clearly down with O.P.P. (Oliver Perez’s Problems).
Pedro Martinez had a great career in the major leagues. He came to New York and had a fantastic 2005 season, before injuries hampered him throughout the rest of his Mets career. He had a renaissance for the Phillies in 2009, including a nationally televised 130-pitch, eight inning shutout effort against the Mets in September that was vintage Pedro from start to finish.
However, for as much as he knows about pitching, Pedro knows very little about Oliver Perez. Ollie is not a major league pitcher right now and hasn’t been one since the Mets left Shea Stadium for Citi Field, a ballpark that’s supposedly more pitcher friendly than its predecessor. In fact, Ollie has been so ineffective for the Mets that the mound at Citi Field has taken out a restraining order on him, not allowing him to come within 500 feet of the hill.
The Wilpons refuse to admit their mistake and because of it, the Mets continue to pay Ollie to sit around in the bullpen waiting for another 10-1 game in which his services and “talents” can be used appropriately. Of course, according to pitching guru Pedro Martinez, Ollie’s talents will shine through once he becomes a starter again.
No thanks, Pedro. Perhaps once the Mets rid themselves of Ollie, the two of you can get the band back together again, but for now, watching Ollie come into a game is like watching the final car chase scene in “Blues Brothers”. You know no one’s going to get hurt, but there’s going to be a lot of damage done.