Dodgers eye Pedro as possibility

Updated: March 13, 2009, 2:40 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The New York Mets don't have any interest in bringing back Pedro Martinez. But another one of Martinez's former employers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, could emerge as a candidate to rescue him from unemployment.

Martinez opened some eyes with his performance for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, showing increased velocity and throwing six shutout innings against the Netherlands.

Although manager Joe Torre said the Dodgers have yet to speak to Martinez's representatives, general manager Ned Colletti acknowledged potential interest in Martinez in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"He's someone we're curious about,'' Colletti told the paper.

Torre echoed those sentiments Thursday morning before an exhibition game against Team Korea in Glendale.

"I can't say, 'No, we have no interest at all,''' Torre said. "It's hard to say right now.''

The Dodgers' rotation currently consists of Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw in the first four spots. But no one from the Jason Schmidt-Eric Milton-Claudio Vargas contingent has stepped forward to stake a definitive claim to the fifth spot.

"You never have too many guys until one guy jumps up,'' Torre said. "Right now we haven't had that happen.''

That has stoked interest in Los Angeles about a possible return by Martinez, an eight-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner who's still looking for a job at age 37.

Martinez began his career in the Dodgers organization, but was traded to Montreal for second baseman Delino DeShields in 1993.

Fred Claire, the Dodgers' general manager at the time, has subsequently acknowledged that the trade was a mistake.

Martinez posted a 117-37 record in seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox, but had trouble staying healthy in New York and managed only one 200-inning season after signing a four-year, $53 million contract with the Mets.

Although Torre watched Martinez in the WBC only in passing, he saw enough to believe that Martinez can still help a club. Martinez threw 58 strikes and only 17 balls in his two appearances against the Netherlands.

"Just from the little I've seen of him pitching, he may not have the velocity he once had,'' Torre said. "But he certainly has the know-how, and I think he's throwing hard enough to keep hitters off-balance. I think I share Ned's comment about the curiosity.''

Martinez's job search could ultimately come down to his contract demands. Arizona considered Martinez for a rotation spot during the winter, but talks stalled and the Diamondbacks eventually signed free agent Jon Garland.

The Pirates also explored the idea of signing Martinez, but took a pass because he was reportedly out of the team's price range.

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN.com.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer