Pedro Signs with Phillies for Remainder of Season
Things have been rough enough so far this season in Flushing. Regardless of their beautiful new (and expensive) surroundings, the Mets have had nothing right go their way. The team has been beset by a myriad of injuries to their core players and has not done itself any favors by playing horrible fundamental baseball as they await the return of the wounded.
The Mets have played better at Citi Field than on the road, but falling as low as fourth place in the National League East with a 42-45 mark will not keep paying customers content on splurging at the Shake Shack. If it weren't for the hapless Washington Nationals, who replaced manager Manny Acta with Jim Riggleman during the All-Star break with the team spinning its wheels at 26-61, the Mets would be holding up the basement in the division.
As they chase the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets will have to contend with one of their former aces. Pedro Martinez signed a one-year contract worth $1 million (with approximately another $1.5 million in incentives) with the defending world champions after playing out the string in New York.
His four years here started out extremely well when he went 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA in 2005. A series of injuries limited him to just 25 starts in the last two years of the deal and Martinez did not want to end his highly-successful career with a 5-6, 5.61 2008.
He pitched in this year's World Baseball Classic and kept himself in shape in case the phone would ring. The Mets - even though the back end of their starting rotation has not exactly been stellar - showed absolutely no interest in bringing back the 37-year-old. Other clubs showed mild interest but Martinez did not want to jump at the first opportunity. He preferred to stay on the east coast and pitch for a contender. Enter the Phillies.
"I just wasn't willing to sign a minor league deal," Martinez said during his introductory press conference on Wednesday in Philadelphia. "I wasn't willing to go to places that I didn't feel comfortable going. I didn't feel like going with some teams, things like that, things that come into play when you're the kind of player I am."
Since he entered the league with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1992, Martinez has a lifetime record of 214-99 and a 2.91 ERA. The eight-time All-Star has won three Cy Young Awards (1997, 1999, 2000) and has over 3,000 career strikeouts. Even with that said, his numbers have been in a steep decline across the board of late.
"I don't expect to be the same Pedro that I was when I was 26," he continued. "But I still fell like I can still bring something to the table. I still feel like this team needs a little help, very little help, and I think that I can supply a little bit of it. I'm not going to say all of it, but a little bit of it."
The Phillies, who lead the Florida Marlins by four games in the division and were 48-38 at the break, have had problems with depth in their rotation and the bottom end of it has included names such as Chan Ho Park, Andrew Carpenter and Rodrigo Lopez. Once Martinez completes a few tune up starts in the minors, he will be a welcome addition at Citizen's Bank Ballpark, even though he did not bash his former team and his new squad's biggest rival.
In fact, Martinez went in the complete opposite direction and made sure he mentioned his love both the Met organization and their fans, but clarified it by stating that it will make no difference on the field.
"But I can't do anything with the hate you feel for the Mets or Met fans," he said as if speaking directly to the Phillies fans. "That's between you guys."
When Martinez stands on the hill against his old buddies from New York, it will be an interesting day at the ballpark.