Thursday, July 9, 2009

Does Pedro Make Sense For the Phillies?

Sure it does.

There was a report earlier today that the Phillies had already signed Pedro Martinez--who, you may recall, used to be Pedro Martinez--to a $4 million contract, probably prorated, which means they'd be on the hook for around $2 million in exchange for his services for the rest of the season. MLBTradeRumors has all the scoops.

The last time Pedro Martinez was seen (last season), he was 36, started 20 games, pitched 109 innings and got lit up like a Christmas tree for lowly 75 ERA+. (For comparison, Livan Hernandez' 2008 ERA+ was 69.) In 2007 he pitched very well in very limited work; in 2006 he pitched most of the year and was average.

Who are the defending world champions looking at replacing? Well, they should be trying to replace Jamie Moyer, who sadly has finally reached the end of the line. (5.5 innings per start and a 75 ERA+.) But really, they're just looking to find anybody that will give them something half-decent out of the #5 spot in their rotation, which is currently pretty much vacant, as you can see from their B-Ref pitching report, which lists only four starters. In addition to Moyer, Joe Blanton and Cole Hamels have taken the ball every turn all year, and noted spousal abuser Brett Myers has taken ten starts. Other Phillies that have taken starts this year include such luminaries as Rodrigo Lopez, J.A. Happ, Chan Ho Park (he just won't die!), and the totally awesome Antonio Bastardo, who rung up a 6.75 ERA before calling it a year.

The plan sans Pedro, presumably, is to keep up the doses of Rodrigo Lopez, maybe sprinkle in some more Chan Ho Park. I could provide you with a helpful statistical breakdown, but let's face it: You know who Rodrigo Lopez and Chan Ho Park are. The chances Pedro Martinez comes in and performs appreciably worse than those guys are low, and he at least has some potential for upside that Rodrigo Lopez certainly doesn't. And there is some little bit of tangible value in giving the fans something to talk about at the water cooler.

Compared to the other options out there for adding a starting pitcher--what other options for adding a starting pitcher?--tossing $2 million at a wall with a famous name on the off chance it sticks really isn't the worst idea you've heard of today. If the price tag is more like $4 million for half a season's work, that's different, but if Martinez can be had for less, he's worth giving a shot, for the Phillies or one of a few other contending teams.


  1. I read (or heard? I forget) Klaw say that Pedro can still pitch if he stops being a stubborn jackass and learns to pitch backwards. Apparently, the dude thinks he can just throw his 87 MPH heat by big-leaguers.

    All jokes aside, he still has good secondary stuff. He can be good for Philadelphia.

  2. Well, if I'm in a pennant race and running Jamie Moyer out there every fifth day as my third starter, I'm minded to write the check and find out what Pedro likes better, throwing fastballs and getting pasted or throwing some curves and changeups and getting hitters out. It's a cheap stab at some sorely needed pitching upside.

  3. Absolutely. And this Halladay talk, please, the Phillies couldn't get Halladay unless they included Chase Utley in the deal. Pedro is their best option that I can see.