Pedro’s Future

Reports recently circulated that Pedro Martinez definitely plans on pitching in 2009, if not longer than that. Having just turned 37 years old, he certainly would not be the oldest pitcher in the major leagues next season; however, based on his performance this season, the supremely dominant Pedro is long gone. With that in mind, what type of contract should he sign? Or, then again, what would be reasonable, given his track record as well as his most recent performance? I’m sure the Mets will make some type of offer to him, be it half-hearted or not, but if he wants to pitch next season, you better believe he will be able to find a home.

In 2006-07, since he made just five starts in ’07 alone, Pedro started 28 games, threw for 160.2 innings, and surrendered 141 hits, 19 of which were home runs. He walked 46 and fanned 169 hitters. This resulted in a 4.15 ERA and 3.67 FIP, still very solid. Last year, however, things took a turn for the worse. In 20 starts and 109 innings, his K/BB dipped below 2.0, and he posted a 5.61 ERA and 5.18 FIP. Given that we estimate replacement level to be a 5.50 FIP, Pedro was pretty darn close to being a replacement level pitcher last season.

The marcel projections for next season are now available here, and they are not too optimistic regarding Martinez. Marcel has Pedro pegged for 117 IP with a 4.85 ERA and 4.57 FIP. Based on his FIP, Pedro is projected to give up 60 runs in 117 innings pitched next season. How does that stack up with the replacement level? Well, unlike Dave’s recent posts on Sabathia and Burnett, both of whom are projected for 180+ IP, Pedro is slotted to log a significantly lesser amount of innings. Since he is only projected to pitch in 117 innings, we cannot use the 160 inning replacement benchmark. Instead, we will adjust the replacement level starter to amass Pedro’s projected innings total.

In other free agent value posts, the replacement starter and reliever came into play since manager’s will have a quicker hook with replacement level starters. In Pedro’s case, we are assuming he will miss starts entirely, not get a quick yank out of the game. Now, we compare Pedro’s 117 innings to that of the replacement level starter:

Pedro Martinez: 117 IP, 60 runs allowed
Replacement SP:117 IP, 72 runs allowed

Put together, Pedro is projected to be twelve runs better than the replacement level next season, or one win above replacement. If free agents are going for the rate of 5.5 million dollars per win, then Martinez should sign a deal worth 5.5 million. Add in his name value and his “veteran leadership” and we can bump that up to at least 6 mil, perhaps even 6.5 mil.

I would tend to think the 10% discount for a multi-year deal would not apply here, as it would be more appropriate for Pedro to sign something like a 1 yr-6 mm deal, laden with incentives. He may not be the dominant force he once was, but there will likely be plenty of teams willing to take flyers on him for next season, if not more than that.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.