Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Phillies Add Pedro

Three time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez has reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. The contract is worth $1 million and Martinez can earn up to $1.5 million in incentives.

Martinez had pitched for the New York Mets for four seasons before becoming a free agent at the end of 2008. There were no takers in the off season. He did pitch for the Dominican Republic during the World Baseball Classic last March but they were unceremoniously jettisoned by The Netherlands. Before joining the Mets, Pedro had pitched previously with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos and, of course, the Boston Red Sox.

One of my greatest memories at Fenway Park was watching him pitch a complete game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (as they were then known) on my 31st birthday. It is the only complete game I've seen in nearly a decade of watching games at Fenway. He was nearly taken out of the game in the ninth inning by manager Grady Little but he decided to stick with Pedro. This move would not serve Little so well a few short weeks later in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the New York Yankees. But hey Pedro did get his World Series ring with the Red Sox the following season. So it is, as they say, all good.

Although the defending World Series champions are in first place in the NL East their pitching has been atrocious. Starting pitchers Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton have been disappointing. Brett Myers got hurt and is gone for the season while 46-year-old Jamie Moyer is showing his age. Rookie J.A. Happ has been the bright spot of this hapless starting rotation with a 6-0 record. As good as Happ as been the Phillies need another credible starting pitcher.

Hopefully, the Phillies aren't looking to Pedro Martinez to become the ace of the Phillies staff at 37. He's past his prime but he could pitch some key games for the Phillies down the stretch. But if they are expecting the Pedro of ten years ago or even five years ago then they are asking for trouble.

Still, I'm sure Pedro would be motivated to pitch against the Mets.

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