Dodgers May Want to Bring Martinez Home

Randy Miller, writing in the Bucks County Courier Times, reports that the Phillies are unlikely to re-sign Pedro Martinez and the Dodgers and Chicago Cubs are looking at the future Hall of Famer to shore up their starting staff.

As you may or may not remember, Martinez was with the Dodgers (1992-93), along with his brothers Ramon (1988-98) and Jesus, who pitched in the Dodgers minor league system.

The Dodgers had acquired second baseman Jody Reed late in 1992. Reed had hit well and had made only five errors during the 1993 season and General Manager Fred Claire was interested in re-signing him after the 1993 season.

Claire offered $7.8 million over three years but Reed and his agent were thinking somewhere in the $12 million for three year neighborhood, a neighborhood the Dodgers were not interested in.

Stuck without a second baseman, Claire searched the free agent lists for a replacement for Reed and looked at both Harold Reynolds of Baltimore and Robby Thompson of San Francisco. Reynolds was 33 and not a good fit for a multi-year contract. Thompson got a good deal to re-sign with the Giants after Will Clark left to play for Texas, leaving the Dodgers empty-handed. Then Claire found that Montreal was willing to trade Delino DeShields.

DeShields was one of the premier young second baseman in the Major Leagues. At age 24 he had just hit .277 and had averaged 46 stolen bases a season.

But Montreal wanted Pedro Martinez, who had recorded a 10-3 record in relief with a 2.61 earned run average.

Claire called manager Tom Lasorda and Ralph Avila, in charge of baseball operations in the Dominican Republic. Both agreed it was a good trade and it was made.

The trade didn't work out for the Dodgers, DeShields didn't play well with the Dodgers and Martinez went on, as any baseball fan knows, to record a Hall of Fame career with Montreal and Boston. He won the Cy Young Award three times. the ERA title five times and has run up 3100+ strikeouts and 219 wins.

"If Jody accepts our offer, we keep Pedro Martinez. If we sign Robby Thompson, we keep Pedro, and if Will Clark stays with the Giants. Ifs don't matter in baseball," Claire wrote in his book, "My 30 years in Dodger Blue."

There were no torchlight gatherings to protest the trade at the time, but since then the move has snowballed into the "worst trade in Dodger history," one which was generally praised at the time by those whose later, with perfect 20-20 hindsight, have decried.

Since 1993, every time Pedro has had a spectacular game or season, and their have been many of them, Claire is reminded of the trade, is asked to comment, which he does by accepting complete responsibility, although in all reality, it was much more a joint decision.

But, as he says, "There are no mulligans in Baseball."

And by the way, Reed finally signed with Milwaukee in 1994 or $750,000.

Pedro Martinez's return to the Dodgers after 16 years wandering the baseball world, would not only be a great public relations coup for a franchise that could use one, but he proved in his short time with the Phillies that he has something left after suffering consecutive injury-riddled seasons with the New York Mets from 2007-08.

The Phillies signed him in July after he sat out the first half, and Martinez pitched well after returning to action in August. In nine starts, Martinez was 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA. In the postseason, he baffled the Dodgers over seven shutout innings in a Game 2 NLCS no-decision at Los Angeles, then had a good showing and bad one while losing two World Series games to the Yankee$.

Remarkably, at the same time Martinez rumor was floated, the Cincinnati Reds announced Delino DeShields as the new field manager for the Billings Mustangs in the Pioneer League in 2010.

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