Year-end wrap-ups: Dodging a bullet with Pedro

October 3rd, 2006 → 6:04 pm @ // No Comments

Two thousand and six was — by far — the worst year of Pedro Martinez’s bejeweled career. His year-end line: 9-8, 132.2 innings pitched, a 4.48 ERA, 137 K’s. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s Pedro’s worst ERA ever. The only season in which he’s had less strikeouts was 1993…his rookie year. His two-year totals with the Mets are 24-16, 345 Ks, and a 3.55 ERA. That would have put him eighth in NL ERA this year.

Pedro did, to be sure, display flashes of the brilliance that has made him one of the best pitchers ever to play the game. Even with his miserable performances of the last several weeks, his .220 BAA would have placed him third in the league (behind Chris Young and Carlos Zambrano) had he pitched enough innings to qualify. And during the season’s first months, he showed, perhaps more than ever before, that he’s a brilliant pitcher and not just a fireballer.

But the Pedro Martinez who finished the year looked a lot different from the one that sauntered into Boston on June 28 for his first start at Fenway since he left the Sox after 2004. At that point, he was 7-3 with a 3.02 ERA, and there was lots of moaning about how the Sox should have done more to re-sign Pedro when he hit free agency. There were stories in the press about how Pedro wanted to come back, but the Sox just wouldn’t pony up.

That, to but it bluntly, is a pile of crap. I pointed that out at the time and got no small amount of grief. There might have been circumstances in which Pedro would have come back to Boston, but he gave every indication that it was not his first choice.

And as painful as this season was, it would have been more painful if Pedro had been another one of the walking wounded populating Yawkey Way. Pedro never was quite able to accept Curt Schilling taking over the mantle as the best pitcher on the Sox’s staff. He griped about it before the ’04 season, he griped about it during the ’04 season, and he griped about it after he signed with the Mets. As Peter Gammons said two years ago, it was “preposterous” that Pedro didn’t bother to show up in New York for Game 6 of the ’04 ALCS…a game Schilling happened to be pitching. With all of the drama and all of the soap operas swirling around Fenway this year, can you imagine what it would have been like to add a hurt, jealous Pedro Martinez to the mix?

Finally, after two years in which Pedro cost the Mets a million bucks a win (which is, granted, slightly less than what Matt Clement has cost the Sox thus far), there’s a decent chance that the $26 million he’s costing the team for ’07 and ’08 will be pretty much sunk costs. If the Red Sox want to continue trying to compete with the Yankees, there’s two things they can’t do: make poor decisions (more on that later) and spend tens of millions of dollars on players in, ahem, the twilight of their careers.

I’ve said many, many times that Pedro is one of my all-time favorite players. I got chills when he returned to Fenway. Watching him strike out 17 Yankees in 1999 is one of the highlights of my baseball-watching life. But it should be clearer than ever that the Red Sox — whether that be Theo, Larry, or whomever — made the right move in not ponying up more than 50 million for a 33-year-old pitcher who is generously listed as being 5-11 and has had a history of shoulder problems.

(More year-end wrap-ups and report cards — as well as a look back at the free-agent pitching class of 2004 — in the days to come.)

Post Categories: 2006 Wrap-ups and report cards & Pedro Martinez

6 Comments → “Year-end wrap-ups: Dodging a bullet with Pedro”

  1. yerfatma

    17 years ago

    As one of the teeming millions who rushed home and planned their evenings around Petey starts, loved his ability to turn a phrase in English and the overall experience, can someone please explain the people who show up in blog comments and on ‘EEI to rake the Sox over the coals for not signing up for the 2009 Pedro Martinez Experience? Because I’m lost.


  2. Mr. Furious

    17 years ago

    The Mets got their money’s worth in a way that the Sox couldn’t have. the PEdro signing was as much about credibility for the franchise as it was about ERA or Ws. They needed to overpay for that. The Sox, coming off a championship, didn’t.



    17 years ago

    One point I’d like to make is that Pedro’s ERA of 4.48 is misleading and shows how badly this stat needs to be overhauled. When you look at Pedro’s last 8 appearances of the season you see the ERA climbed from 3.01 to 4.48 in that time. The shelling in Boston raised it by .44 and the shelling in Atlanta raised it by .40. The ERA stat is flawed because it can be heavily inflated by a couple of bad outings-even a couple of bad innings. Why not have an adjusted figure that excludes the best 10% of appearances and worst 10% or something like that. It’s a common technique used in statistics. Certainly Pedro had a horrible finish because of the injuries, but the 4.48 makes his season look worse than it was.


  4. madizzy

    17 years ago

    It’s not a common technique used in sports statisics. that’s for sure. What’s next? Drop a batter’s worst 10 games?

    Pedro is done. I be he won’t win 10 more games as a big leaguer.


  5. Hambone

    17 years ago

    #2: I think you make a good point, and I agree that going after Petey showed that the Mets were serious. But ultimately you need to make good decisions, not just sign expensive people. Unless the Mets win it this year (which I doubt) they’ll need to show that they can make those good decisions.

    #3: What, should we start including standard deviance along with ERAs? Considering that the statistics are taken from such a small sample (30ish at best, and in martinez’s case, just 23), every game is going to cause a large swing in the stats.

    Besides, I think the important thing when talking about Pedro this year is his injury, not his stats.

  6. […] I’ve had a long, and somewhat complicated history with Pedro. Some of my most joyous baseball memories are the result of his brilliance. (I’ve already gone on too many times about his 17-K performance at Yankee Stadium in September 99…the game that got me escorted out of the ballpark for my own safety.) His 2006 return to Fenway was chill (and tear) inducing. On the other hand, his continued obfuscation during same return was childish, and I’m very happy the Sox aren’t on the hook for his salary. (Among other reasons is this Sunday’s starter.) […]


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