They say the most energetic time of a chicken's life are the seconds after someone chops its head off. The same seems to ring true, with Pedro's career, as he lives it up in the WBC, chopped off from any Major League team. Martinez is pitching quite well with his birth pals from the Dominican Republic striking out good looking batters, reaching low 90's with his fastball, and keeping the opposing team scoreless. But is this the end for Pedro? Does he have enough in the tank to give us one more (decent) year or would we just be setting him up to lay another egg?
Yesterday, after the Netherlands eliminated the Dominican Republic in Round 1 of the World Baseball Classic, Martinez told reporters he has had offers to pitch in the major leagues since he filed for free agency, but chose to remain a free agent so he could dedicate himself to the WBC. Right, and I was going to be signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but after realizing my first true love is sewing, I politely declined the offer.
Will the Mets make the (first) offer to Pedro? SHOULD they make an offer to Pedro? Well, knowing our luck, if they do sign him to a one year deal he is probably going to make us all want to climb under the rubble in Shea. If the Mets' hold back from taking him on board for one more year, the Reds will sign him and he will produce a 15-6 record with a 3.11 ERA, striking out 185 batters and coming in 3rd place for the Cy Young. But that's exactly our dilemma. Young. He is not as young as he used to be (duh, who is?) and he is relying more on craftsmanship (hello Tom Glavine) and less on the strength of the fastball (not by choice though).
Can he be the Pedro of his yesteryears? Can he lead the Mets' to victory the way Napoleon led the French to victory? Can Pedro be the New York Mets' dynamite? (Okay, I had to use the Napoleon Dynamite reference. After all, we're discussing if we should "Vote For Pedro"). Oh, and for all you history buffs out there, the French never did win a military victory. Google it.
To pay or not to pay. That is the question. Pedro has been said to be looking for John Smoltz money (no, it's not a currency. It's what he got with the Red Sox. $5.5 million). We all know by now the Mets are not going to pay him that much and we should know by now that he won't want to settle on less. Our only choice? We must dish out the next best thing since sliced bread (which may I add is entirely overrated but something tells me that that is for a different post in a different blog at a different time). We will give Pedro an incentive-laden contract. The Yanks did it with Pettite, the Dodgers did it with Hudson and the Mets should do it with Pedro. You make 30 starts - you get a million bucks. You make 30 DECENT starts (with the appropriate numbers etc.) and we'll give you another million or two. Remember, he will be our number 5 guy so we're not asking for Johan Santana numbers (mmm, you can say that again). Remember, he will be our number 5 guy so we're not asking for Johan Santana numbers (there, I said it).
If he doesn't want it, that's fine. We have a whole bag of potential number 5 starters who would just love to get a chance to don a Mets' jersey in 2009. Not the best bunch of pitchers, but players happy enough to be able to support their family's on what the Mets have offered and given them (yes, Latrell, they are actually happy).
So Pedro, there it is. An incentive-laden contract. You'll be given, along with it, the chance to compete on a team that is very likely to go deep into the playoffs and, hopefully, win it all. You get a starting job, cash, and possibly a ring. That's enough to make Aaron Heilman pee his pants in excitement (more because of the starting job).
So Mr. Martinez, you have my vote... Do you want it or...
Are You Chicken?