After it became abundantly clear that the Mets were going in a different direction to fill the back of their rotation, Pedro Martinez had very limited options. Teams certainly had interest in his services but not for the $5-6 mil asking price. Considering that Martinez is closer to replacement level than very productive these days and that he is an incredible injury risk the hesitance made perfect sense. Many advocated the signing of an incentive-laden deal that would pay Martinez handsomely if he actually stayed on the field. Not realizing that he is but a shell of his former self, Martinez rejected the idea of such deals.
When nobody bit, he resorted to using the World Baseball Classic as an audition of sorts. Pedro did not exactly “wow!” anyone in the WBC and continues to remain available. Yet instead of lowering his asking price in the hopes that someone will bite, Pedro is now resigned to the idea that a team will see a pitcher or two go down with injuries and view him as a knight in shining armour… worth $5-6 mil on a guaranteed deal.
Mitch Williams mentioned that the Cleveland Indians might be a fit especially with the uncertainty surrounding someone like Carl Pavano. The Angels are certainly not among the interested parties as they are convinced injured pitchers like Ervin Santana and John Lackey could be ready in the same amount of time that it would take a free agent to prepare. The aforementioned Halo stalwarts certainly project more optimistic lines than Martinez as well.
Beyond Pedro, Odalis Perez is still available, and though it may seem as if I am beating a dead horse here, Perez is still quite productive and incredibly consistent. Over the last four years he has virtually posted identical +1.5 win values. How someone like Tim Redding was given a guaranteed deal by a contender with worse production and a more storied injury history than the equally aged Perez, who couldn’t even get a major league contract from the Washington Nationals will continue to puzzle me.
Pedro Martinez has had a tremendous career. He is a first ballot hall of famer and, in my eyes at least, owner of the two best pitched seasons in the rich history of this sport. He should not be signed, however, for anything above what Odaliz Perez could be signed for given that the latter has proven himself durable over the last several seasons and closer to league average. Pedro might provide better value when healthy but if I am investing a certain amount of money and have two options, my risk-averse personality is going to lean in the direction of the more reliable option. Pedro is one of the best pitchers of all time but he is not anymore, and $5 mil at this point for a fifth starter who might make three starts and then miss the rest of the season just does not make sense for a team, especially given that the teams in question are looking to fill voids that came undone due primarily to injuries.