Signing Pedro Martinez probably not a good move

March, 18, 2009
03/18/09
4:22
PM ET
Hey, the economy's rough on everybody. Even future Hall of Famers:

    Free agency isn't what it used to be. Pedro Martinez, a three-time Cy Young winner with 214 career victories, is still without a contract, but that could change soon.

    According to MLB.com, the most realistic suitors for Pedro at this point seem to be the Dodgers and the Mets, though the Mets said Pedro would not be returning to Queens.

    Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti didn't throw the entire idea out the window the way the Mets did, and admitted L.A. has some interest in the right-hander.

    Manny Ramirez, a former teammate of Pedro's in Boston, said he called Martinez on Sunday after hearing rumors that the Dodgers were a possible destination.

    "He said he has two options," Manny told MLB.com. "I don't know what he's going to do. He has to do what's best for him."

    Recent reports had Pedro signing with the Houston Astros, but Astros general manager Ed Wade dispelled those rumors.

    "We have had zero conversations with Pedro," Wade told MLB.com.

    Pedro's search for a John Smoltz-type contract is the reason he is still on the market. Teams are not willing to give the oft-injured starter $5 million of guaranteed money.

A few points here …

One, there's a really, really good reason why nobody's leaping at the chance to offer Pedro a Smoltz-type contract: Smoltz won 14 games in 2007; Pedro has won 17 games in 2006, 2007 and 2008 combined.

Two, there seems to be zero interest from 29 teams and a small amount of interest from one. The Mets are not interested, and you can hardly blame them after flushing $41 million down the toilet over the last three years. Yes, the Mets shouldn't concern themselves with a sunk cost, but that's easy for us to say; they're the ones who had to watch an expensive mistake every day for three years.

Three, it's not at all clear why the Dodgers would have even that small amount of (supposed) interest. Their top four starters are set, and James McDonald is a fine candidate for the fifth slot. If he's not ready -- and he's not pitched well this spring -- there's always Jason Schmidt hanging around, hoping to be healthy for a few weeks in a row. I just wonder if bringing another perpetually sore-armed veteran into the mix is exactly the right move for this club.

If Pedro passes all the physicals and is willing to work for cheap, you might be able to justify signing him. But everything has to be just right.

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