Desperate for starting pitching, the Philadelphia Phillies signed future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez to a one-year, $1 million deal yesterday. Martinez can also make up to $1.5 million in incentives.
This is a good low-risk signing by the Phillies. I am always of the theory that A) you can never have too much pitching and B) how much can signing a guy for a million dollars really hurt you?
If Martinez gives them anything, great. If not, no big deal, it’s only a million bucks.
At 37, Martinez is more name than substance at this point in his career. Seeing Martinez on the Phillies will be like seeing Tom Seaver on the Boston Red Sox, Steve Carlton on the Minnesota Twins, Keith Hernandez on the Cleveland Indians, or even Dale Murphy on the Colorado Rockies. Sure they were "Seaver," "Carlton," "Hernandez," and "Murphy," but the reality was they were just hanging on at the end.
That is the hardest part about watching great players at the end of their careers. You remember how great and dominating they were. You remember on their best days, they were the best players on the field—hands down. It’s hard to watch them struggle just to even stay on the field at the end.
I remember the Pedro Martinez on the Boston Red Sox that walked out of the bullpen in the fourth inning of Game Five of the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians in 1999. As soon as that door opened and Martinez came out, it was game over and everyone, including the Indians knew it.
That is the Martinez I remember.
I hope Martinez does well with the Phillies. But the reality is, I will see the Martinez on that struggled in his last three seasons with the New York Mets. From 2006-2008, Martinez was 17-15 with a 4.76 ERA and was only able to start 48 games in those three years.
Martinez should make his Phillies’ debut in about three-to-four weeks. Pedro Martinez always will have an aura surrounding him when he pitches. The Phillies are hoping even at 37, there are some wins in that aura.