The top story of the All-Star Game break (Barack Obama’s first pitch notwithstanding) was the Phillies giving $1 million to test drive Pedro Martinez.
Martinez, with 214 wins and just 99 losses, was the arguably the best pitcher of the 1990s, but really hasn’t been productive since then (not really, he’s had bouts of productivity in the 2000s – just fewer times). Let’s just look at the last three years.
In 2006 with the Mets, Pedro made 23 starts, going 9 – 8 with a 4.48 ERA in 132.2 innings. He still struck people out and had some decent control – but when he got hit, people were taking him deep. 19 of the 108 hits allowed were homers. Taking the defense and park out of his stats, I show him as being about 9 runs worse than the average pitcher that year – the first time he’s actually hurting the teams for whom he has played. Injured in 2007, Pedro made just five starts, winning three, and looked okay – 33 Ks in 28 innings, but also 32 hits.
The Mets thought they might have something to hope for in 2008. Only that year, Pedro was worse than ever. In 20 starts, covering 109 innings, Pedro had a losing record (5 – 6), and an ERA that was double his career average (5.61). He gave up 19 homers again, allowed more than a hit per inning and his strikeout rate fell. Take the park and defense out of his stats, and he’s nearly 18 runs worse than the average pitcher in his 109 innings. He was as bad as Roy Halliday is good.
We’re talking about a pitcher who was undependable from a health standpoint (missing about half of his starts), and his fastball isn’t going to blow you away – heck, it’s likely to land in the seats. In Philadelphia, had he pitched the way he did at Shea in 2008, it’s possible that his ERA would be 7 or 8. For now, Pedro’s on the DL (strained shoulder, discovered when he passed his physical?), and will essentially be making rehab starts. He may get a start in the majors – but personally, I don’t want him to get his 100th loss. Nobody has more pitches in the arsenal than Pedro had in his day, but I’m not convinced that he’s a viable alternative to what the Phillies already have.
In other news…
Pittsburgh reliever Tyler Yates had elbow surgery and will miss the rest of 2009, and could miss much of 2010. (FoxSports)
Getting help for a tired bullpen, the Twins recalled Kevin Mulvey from Rochester, and sent third string catcher Jose Morales back to AAA. Morales was hitting .343 with the Twins – now THAT’S a valuable third stringer! Mulvey came over in the Johan Santana deal, spent very little time at the lower levels in the minors, but has been in AAA for a year and a half. He’s not bad – could use a little bit better control and strikes out a few guys, but doesn’t look like a great one. He peaks out for me as a fifth starter, long reliever type. [ESPN]
Eric Milton’s 2009 comeback season is over following back surgery (herniated disk), but he has no intention of retiring – at least until he knows how his back feels when he’s done healing. Milton has been resting a tired shoulder and elbow – but had been effective for the Dodgers when able to pitch. [ESPN]
It happened a couple of days ago, but I admit I was sorry to hear that Tony Clark had been released. I always liked Tony – decent power, willing to work the count, and as a young guy was a decent fielder. I’m not certain anyone will sign him and give him one more shot, but I’ll miss him.