Mets didn't get their money's worth with Pedro
It was four years ago that Pedro Martinez was lured to New York by the Mets, a $53 million check stuffed in his pocket. Pedro wasn't just a free-agent prize; to the Mets he was The One.Now, 32 wins and no world championships later, it's fair to ask: Was Pedro really worth the money? Not if the Mets are honest with themselves. Despite the projected success, Martinez broke down just as the Red Sox predicted after 2005 and was unable to deliver a single pennant, let alone a Series ring.
No doubt Martinez made the Mets respectable -- his arrival coincided with a 12-win surge from 2004-05 -- but the realists in the organization know Beltran's decision to sign with the Mets had less to do with Pedro than it did with money."We were the highest bidders," is how one insider put it. Indeed, no one got close to the seven-year, $119 million deal the Mets dropped in front of Beltran. But even after he was entering the final round of negotiations, Beltran still wasn't sold; agent Scott Boras secretly told the Yankees the center fielder would accept less money if the Bombers would make an offer. So much for Pedro's recruiting powers. The driving force of the Mets' renaissance has been the Wilpon family's willingness to outbid the market for star players. That's why GM Omar Minaya is moving slowly on renewing ties with Martinez this off-season. No one is saying Pedro's career with the Mets is necessarily over; the Mets are, after all, facing a shortage at the back end of their rotation, especially if they lose Oliver Perez to free agency. But with much of the $53 million they spent on Pedro having turned to vapor, the Mets would prefer a more realistic re-enlistment -- say one year for $2 million, with performance incentives that could net Martinez $8 million to $10 million. Would Pedro accept an 85 percent cut in guaranteed pay? Not likely, but the Mets are at least keeping the door open for him. They'll need 120-140 innings from their No. 5 starter, and might just trust Martinez with that responsibility over a rookie like Jon Niese -- at the right price.
Pedro Martinez's four years in New York
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