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He’s baaaaack! Well, maybe his decision to come back wasn’t as drawn out as Roger Clemens or Brett Favre (who I hope doesn’t come back, stops trying to be the center of attention every offseason, and sticks to doing commercials for Wrangler Jeans). Studly QB’s in ass-tight jeans aside, we are here to discuss Pedro Martinez.
There is no doubt that Pedro has been one of the greatest pitchers of the past decade. My boy Kenneth Carl has already chronicled Pedro’s past. Pedro’s distant past was god-like, but recent history tells us that Pedro is going to have little to no value in the fantasy baseball realm. Unless your league counts “Don Zimmer Takedowns” as a category, then I’d suggest leaving Pedro in the free agent pool.
We already know the kind of pitcher that Pedro used to be, but in the present, Pedro just doesn’t hold a lot of value. During his last three seasons, all with he New York Mets, Pedro fell from grace as he compiled a record of 17-15 with an ERA of 4.74 and 1.33 WHIP. The only shining moment during his stint with the Mets came in his first season with the team. The 2005 season was very, very good to Pedro as he mowed down the N.L. in the same way he used to when he played in Montreal as he went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA and 208 K’s. If you’re expecting Pedro circa 2005 or anytime before that, then you are dreaming.
As a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Pedro will once again be doing battle in the N.L. East. Yes, the same division that has spelled his doom for the last three seasons. Not to mention that his new home, Citizens Bank Park, has been Pedro’s enemy as he has posted a career ERA of 7.85 in four starts in Philadelphia.
Currently, Pedro is sitting on the DL, a trend all too common in his career. Pedro is going to battle shoulder problems all the time and the injury risk is too high for you to rely on him as a consistent contributor to your team down the stretch. The Phillies knew this and that’s why they are only paying Pedro one million dollars for his services. If you do pick him up, that means you have to wait until his current DL stint is over (the Phillies are hoping for a July 30th debut) and then probably have to endure another DL stint near the end of the season. It wouldn’t be surprising seeing how Pedro has only started 48 games over the past three seasons.
Pedro’s performance in the World Baseball Classic does give you that very dim glimmer of hope. His 6 IP, 0 ER, 6 K stat line was impressive for the most part. However, you can’t compare the WBC to the MLB. The talent pool in the Majors exceeds that of the WBC and just because a pitcher does well in the WBC, it doesn’t mean it will translate to the Majors (Dice-K anybody?). Also, Pedro was a reliever in the WBC, not a starter. It is one thing to come out of the bullpen every few games, but Pedro is too old and too frail to make quality starts every five days.
The fact of the matter is that Pedro Martinez is 37 years old and is no longer a reliable pitching option in the fantasy community. If there is a slight silver lining to any of this, it is that Pedro could still possibly be a decent source of strikeouts. If in fact he was playing hurt during his last season with the Mets and still has strength left in his arm, then owners could have Pedro to boost their strikeout numbers. If you believe in a Pedro resurgence and have a spare roster spot for him, then pick him up.
At the exact moment I am writing this, Pedro is 9% owned in Yahoo! leagues. The odds of him being available in your league are better than great. I’d love to see Pedro come back and have a quality half season. Unfortunately, if recent trends continue, then you can expect more of the same, which is an ERA between 4.50 and 5.00 and more shoulder problems.
Roll the dice if you feel lucky. Just don’t expect a huge payoff.