WBC Auditions: Pedro Martinez
He wants to keep pitching. He wants to pitch for a contender. For God's sake, he wants someone to sign him. Yet all of that, as well as a Hall of Fame pedigree, hasn't been enough to land Pedro Martinez a job. The longtime ace is playing for the Dominican Republic, waiting for a deal which, finally, might come, thanks to the work he did in the team's opening game of the World Baseball Classic.
In an embarrassing 3-2 loss to the Netherlands, Martinez was nearly a lone star, pitching four scoreless innings while flexing much of the pinpoint control that has always been his hallmark.
That's why Pedro's audition during the WBC is so important. According to most insiders, the thing keeping Martinez on the sideline are the dual concerns over his health and the surprising lack of concern he showed during a brief cameo in 2008. Even if Martinez proves he's healthy by pitching effectively in the WBC, he won't get any more work unless he pitches with more control.
And that's exactly what he did against the Netherlands. He faced the minimum nine batters in three innings of spotless work (there was one bunt single, but it was quickly erased with a double play). Martinez struck out four and threw a grand total of eight balls (of 37 total pitches). That's impressive.
So which team will make a play for Pedro? It's a good question, and it may drag on for weeks or months, even though Martinez's Dominican Republic squad is already out of the WBC. The Mets are not going to re-sign him, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on the Tuesday afternoon edition of Baseball Tonight), and no one else seems willing to go public with interest in the former Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox and Mets star. Martinez has set John Smoltz's deal ($5 million guaranteed, up front) as a potential financial benchmark for any deal he'd accept (according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal) and that price tag alone might make most teams blush in the current economy.
What do people think? Is there anything to this Jon Heyman rumor that he could be angling for a return to the Dodgers? Or what about the Padres? They're openly searching for pitching, but are they too cheap to add a marquee (albeit aging) name like Pedro Martinez?
March 11, 2009; 11:07 AM ET
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