A preview of the 2008 Mets, presented in the expected batting order, followed by pitching rotation, followed by impact bullpen/bench players. Today we focus on starting pitcher Pedro Martinez*.
2007: 3-1, 2.57 ERA, 32 K's, 7 walks, 28 IP
I think now is a very good time to take a look at the Pedro Martinez* signing, and how it has played out for the Mets.
2005: 31 starts, 15-8, 2.82 ERA, 217 IP, 208 K, 47 BB
2006: 23 starts, 9-8, 4.48 ERA, 132.2 IP, 137 K, 39 BB
2007: 5 starts, 3-1, 2.57 ERA, 28 IP, 32 K, 7 BB
First and foremost, I stand by what I've said all along - while I wasn't thrilled initially when the Mets signed Pedro Martinez*, it is because of Pedro Martinez* that so many others followed suit, and it is because of Pedro Martinez* the Mets came within an eyelash of the 2006 World Series (even though he didn't pitch that post-season), and it's because of Pedro Martinez* that the Mets were in the position they were in this off-season to acquire Johan Santana. Everything has a cause/effect relationship, and Pedro Martinez* signing with the Mets got the ball rolling on a number of things. So even if (God forbid) the Mets do not win this year's World Series, in the final year of Pedro*'s contract, it's because of Pedro* that they will be in the position to do so in the coming years.
That said, this is a big year for Pedro* in the eyes of fans a little more short-sighted than that. And I can't really blame them. He wanted four years, and that fourth year was a big question mark because of injuries. The Mets took the risk of getting four years out of Pedro*, giving him the four-year deal. At this point, Pedro* can only give them three, because last year was just five starts long for him. Things would have been different had the Mets made the playoffs, which was the plan, but it didn't work out that way.
I also need to clarify the 2006 numbers. Pedro* was better than 9-8 that year - he started the year 5-0, and could have been 9 or 10-0, but the team (offense and bullpen) didn't support him, leaving him with a string of no-decisions. (In 2005, too, don't forget he had to suffer through Braden Looper closing his games, and could have been better than 15-8).
So overall, Pedro* has pitched very well as a Met. This year will be different, though, because there's no pretending he is the Pedro* of old, who can get an upper-90's fastball past you. Pedro* will try to win this year on experience, guts, and guile.
And I think Pedro* will do OK on his experience, guts, and guile. He is a very smart pitcher, and knows what he is doing on the mound. I think the end of last year was a preview of what we can expect from Pedro* all this year - and I don't think a low-3.00 ERA and 15 or so wins is out of the question. I have also written about this before, but I think it helps tremendously that Pedro* is the number two pitcher on the staff.
Was the Pedro* signing a good one? I say yes. Especially if that fourth year turns out to be a championship year for the Mets, and Pedro* is on the mound pitching well for the Mets in that fourth year in the World Series.
SPRING TRAINING TELEVISED: I love what the Red Sox station, NESN, is doing - I saw that this morning they were airing a couple of hours of spring training workouts. I tuned in for a little bit and saw some batting practice and some pitchers throwing. It might be a little much if they do it more often than this, but I'll tell you this - if SNY were airing some of the Mets spring training workouts, I'd be tuning in to every second of it. Hopefully this sets a successful precedent that other teams and their networks start following.