« Mets 08 Lament (with an eye to 09) | Main | The Perception of Underachievement Trumps Reality »

Demolition Man, Part I

NostraDennisTuesday, October 7, 2008
By NostraDennis

It's a good thing next year's Mets changes weren't being planned while Seaver and Piazza were walking into the center field sunset a week ago Sunday. It's even better that I'll have no part in such weighty discussions, because I'm sure the words "multiple homicide" would be involved in some way. I had a particular vision of Shea's right field walls tumbling down on top of a full bullpen, locked from the outside. Stepping back and taking a deep breath, or sigh, is always prudent when deciding on people's futures. Sighhh...

Okay, down to business. There are surprisingly few Mets with contracts in place for 2009 - only a dozen - and that's a good thing. It'll give the team the chance to play the free agent field to their hearts' (and hopefully their brains') content. If you count the impending option on Carlos Delgado, make it a baker's dozen. That's barely enough to field a team. But the Mets spent a good chunk of this season barely able to field a team, so what else is new?

Omar and his team-makers will be busy all winter wrestling with difficult personnel decisions. One of the most interesting is this: what is Pedro Martinez worth?

Pedro has had a remarkable career. When the Mets signed him before the 2005 season, it told me as a fan that they were serious about winning. But after only one full truly Pedro-like season, the idea of Pedro Martinez, Mets ace, has proven to be much glossier than the reality of Pedro Martinez, less than average starter.

For a moment, take the name off the numbers, and look at these figures for 2006-2008. Imagine a free agent with these stats. An average of only 16 starts and under a hundred innings pitched per season. Only ten "quality starts" over three years, and only three since June '06. Coming off a season in which he gave up four or more earned runs in six of his first seven starts and six of his last seven, with a cream filling of five decent starts in July and August. Seventeen wins - total - at a price of $39 million. What's a player like that worth? Well, those are Pedro's numbers in an ugly nutshell.

The Mets don't need to say goodbye to Martinez, but they do need to craft him a one-year contract offer with more incentives dangling from it than a pork-laden bailout bill. If Pedro had been paid $100,000 for every inning he pitched in the last three years, the Mets would have saved twelve million dollars. You can almost get a couple of good middle relievers for that kind of coin.

Pedro at age 37 cannot be expected to win twenty games with a sub-3 ERA. But if he can't be expected to go six solid innings thirty times in 2009, he needs to be compensated accordingly. This isn't being mean; it's being realistic. A mildly productive seasoned citizen like Julio Franco circa 2006 is a cool baseball story. A roster full (or more likely, a disabled list full) of overpaid players way past their prime is no plan for success.

About Dennis McCarthy: I was born in the Bronx in 1960, but moved to Long Island four years later. I became a Mets fan in '69, thanks to my Aunt Ellen, who still lived in the Bronx.   Read More -->

Support Mike's Mets by shopping at our Amazon Store

Comments (2)

I don't believe the Mets can afford to sign Pedro, period.

It isn't the money; it's the strong possibility that five or six games will be sacrificed while the team gathers the stones to take Martinez out of the rotation. Does anyone reading these lines expect the 2009 Mets to have the luxury of five or six wins to spare?

It's just easier to deal or take a pass on a Warren Spahn, a Mike Piazza, or a Pedro Martinez, than it would be to face that moment when you bench them. That too is part of the package of being a great player, I suppose.

dd - Excellent point. I'd do just what you would do, if either one of us was Omar Minaya. It's said that Bill Parcells left the Giants, at least in part, to avoid being the guy to tell Phil Simms he wasn't good enough to be a Giant any more. However, I can't imagine it'll be easy for the Mets to pass on Pedro, no matter what the facts say. If they do muster up the gumption to just say no, you just know he'll hook on somewhere and have a bounceback season.

I also wouldn't have picked up the option on Delgado, despite his torrid comeback in July and August. Does anyone expect his numbers next year to match what he put up during that hot streak?

To Coach Manuel's credit, he wasn't afraid to start others at second base ahead of Luis Cash-stillo, even after he was fully recovered from his hip, wrist, quad, and knee injuries. I would hope he'd do the same in this case, and give a hot Evans or Murphy starts at first base if Delgado fails to produce out of the gate.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Demolition Man, Part II, is coming to Mike's Mets soon, in which I propose placing more explosives (Met-aphorically speaking) under other parts of the roster.

About Mike's Mets

Please support Mike's Mets:

Disclaimer: Mike's Mets is an independent, unofficial fan site, and is not affiliated in any way with the New York Mets or Major League Baseball.

Other Links

General Baseball Links
Internet Radio Shows
Video Blogs
Other Team Links
Other Sports Links
Non-Sports Links
Video Direct

Looking for great deals on MLB Baseball Tickets? Visit JustgreatTickets.com for Cubs Tickets, NY Mets Tickets and a huge selection of Red Sox Tickets, Yankees Tickets and plenty of great concert Tickets for Dave Matthews Band Tickets and Buffett Tickets

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 4.1