Vote No For Pedro

The Phillies haven't commented on what they saw from Pedro Martinez when they watched him throw a simulated game in the Dominican on Tuesday, but word is that they at least went into the outing with a lot of interest.

The Phillies are looking high and low for another starting pitcher and their search has taken them to the Dominican Republic. That's where the Phillies auditioned Pedro Martinez as a possible precursor to signing him as added help for their major league pitching rotation. The Phillies ran him through a simulated game against their Dominican Summer League team. The upside to Martinez is that all he would cost the Phillies is money and it would be just for the remainder of this season. The downside is that Martinez is seeking a bunch of money - reportedly the prorated amount of the $5 million that he's been seeking from a club since during the offseason. That would equate to roughly $2.5 million to put a band-aid on the Phillies starting rotation.

For that money, the Phillies would be getting a pitcher who has averaged just over five innings per start over the past three seasons. Last season, Martinez showed himself to be a mere shell of the pitcher that he has been throughout his career. The velocity on his fastball has dropped to the mid to upper 80s and the movement that made his pitches so tough before is all but gone.

For his part, Martinez points to his performance in the World Baseball Classic as a sign that his career isn't over. Pitching for the Dominican, Martinez compiled a zero-ERA in six innings of work, allowing just one earned run and a .056 opponents against average. The problem with that comparison is that he was pitching just three innings at a time and pitched twice in a week before the Dominican Republic was eliminated. How would he have fared if he was being counted on for more than three innings at a time and if he had to pitch consistently rather than just over a one-week span?

It's possible that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel himself may have made signing Martinez much more difficult when he told the media "I think the five inning pitcher, I think you can find those guys."

Manuel seemed to cast his vote for going with a continued youth movement for the rotation. "For myself, I'm a firm believer that in the Major Leagues today, if you go back and look and you look at All-Star teams and things like that, the good pitchers are young pitchers. Young pitchers with high-ceiling stuff, plus they're good enough right now to throw strikes." Perhaps names like Carlos Carrasco, Andrew Carpenter or Kyle Drabek could fit the bill for Manuel better than Martinez would. If your manager isn't interested in a guy, bringing him in is just asking for trouble, since Manuel's quotes would be rolled out every time that Martinez would have a tough outing, which could be often.

The Mets wanted nothing at all to do with Martinez after his contract expired after last season. He compiled a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts last season for the Mets and showed that he had lost a considerable amount of the stuff that has made him a future Hall of Famer.

Pablo Martinez roughed up Yankees third base coach Don Zimmer during the 2003 AL Championship Series. He's not exactly the epitome of a class act and might not fit well in the Phillies clubhouse.

You also have to consider that Martinez is generally a flyball pitcher, who allowed 19 home runs in 109 innings last season and that was in a less homer-friendly park than Citizens Bank Park. Last season, one in every ten hitters that Martinez faced at Citizens Bank Park went deep on him and he posted a 6.10 ERA in Philly. In his career at Citizens Bank Park, Martinez has a 7.85 ERA in four starts and has averaged just 4.5 innings per outing in the fair city of Philadelphia.

Just as a footnote, Martinez' personality and demeanor aren't exactly exemplary; Just ask Don Zimmer, who was rolled by Martinez during the American League Championship series in 2003.



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