Not Quite Dominican Gold, But Martinez Could Pay Out For Nationals

Kieran CarobineContributor IFebruary 24, 2010

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04:  Starting pitcher Pedro Martinez #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies gets set to pitch against the New York Yankees in Game Six of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on November 4, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees won 7-3 to win the Series 4 games to 2. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Pedro Martinez is nowhere near ready to hang up his spikes.  However, yet again he finds himself watching from the outside as pitchers and catchers reported early last week to Florida and Arizona.  And as position players roll in to start full squad practices Martinez is trying to find somewhere to fit in.

He waited until mid July to sign with the Phillies last season and proved to everyone he still has something left in the tank.  In nine starts with the Phightins he went 5-1 throwing over 44 innings and posting an ERA of 3.63.  If that wasn’t enough, he was on the postseason roster and pitched well throughout the playoffs.  Though he didn’t pick up a win for any of his three starts, he did post a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings pitched in the NLCS and World Series against the Dodgers and Yankees, respectively.

So my question is; why not the Nationals?  I know Martinez has already said he would go back to the Phillies, but GM Ruben Amaro is not ready to meets his $5 million for the year quote.  And with Jaime Moyer or Kyle Kendrick likely to win out the 5th spot in the rotation, there would be no room for Martinez.  The Dodgers and Cubs were also linked the 38-year-old righty this past summer with nothing materializing. 

I am not saying the Nationals starting five is up for grabs but you have to think the front three will be, in no particular order, Jason Marquis, John Lannan, and Chien-Ming Wang.  Wang is coming back from a successful surgery to repair torn cartilage in his shoulder, but should be ready to go early to mid April.   This leaves Scott Olsen, Garret Mock, and J.D. Martin.  Jordan Zimmermann will most likely miss this entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery this past August and Ross Detwiler will not see any major league action for at least three months after having surgery to repair a labral tear in his right hip. 

Even with Detwiler and Zimmermann, the Nats young staff not named Hernandez and Lannan went a combined 24-44 last season.  Bringing in a guy like Martinez could add guidance to a young pitching staff and solidify the final spot in the rotation.

Yeah Martinez is a high-risk/high-reward type pitcher, especially at this time in his career.   His last double-digit win total was in 2005.  Since then, he has scraped together mediocre years of 9, 3, 5 and 5 wins apiece.   However, he proved last season he can still pitch even if he has lost a bit off his fastball.  It is hard to forget that gem against the Giants when he out-dueled Tim Lincecum 2-1 in San Francisco last year.  Martinez threw seven innings of five hit ball while striking out nine.   So again, there is still something left.

I think if Nat’s GM Mike Rizzo gives Martinez a reasonable base salary of 2.5 million for next year and the possibility of making 2.5 more with incentives for wins and innings pitched.  At this point it is a win-win situation.

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