Pedro Martinez is a Bad Guy?

pedro-philliesAs you may have seen, Pedro Martinez signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Interestingly, he signed a $1M contract only after passing a physical, yet was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore shoulder. Go figure. Well, whatever. The point is, Pedro is now a Phillie. And last I checked, the Phillies were still in the NL East (and still in first place).

What’s more interesting was the negativity thrown around by the local media just prior to the announcement. I’m speaking specifically about Tuesday afternoon, on 1050ESPN Radio, when Seth Everett called in with his thoughts on the Pedro signing. His direct quote:

“I don’t value chemistry a great deal, but Pedro Martinez is going to tear that clubhouse upside down. Someone is going to have to put him in his place really quickly.”

Don La Greca went on for several minutes explaining why he agreed with Everett — agreeing that Pedro could be a big problem in the Phillies’ clubhouse, and wondering why the Phillies would want to mess up that “winning chemistry”. Huh?

Apparently, the reason given as to why Pedro would be disruptive was this: “because let’s face it, he’s Pedro Martinez”. Um …. ok …. and that means …. ?

Very strange, no? Am I the crazy one? Because I don’t remember one — NOT ONE — report or quip from anyone in the New York media describing Pedro Martinez as anything but an absolute joy in the clubhouse, a leadership figure, and a wonderful teammate from 2005-2008. I do remember some talk of Pedro being something of a prima donna PRIOR TO his arriving in Flushing, but from the moment he donned the orange and blue, all we heard was how he was a tremendous teammate and positive force in the clubhouse. If I missed something, please direct me to evidence to the contrary.

So how in the world did Pedro go from good guy to bad guy? Hmm … isn’t it incredibly coincidental (or convenient) that news of Pedro being a clubhouse cancer and his signing with the Mets’ #1 rival came simultaneously? The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if someone in the Mets front office offered a few favors to some people in the media to spread some filth and malaise regarding Pedro, to help explain why they didn’t re-sign him. After all, there are many, many Mets fans who purchased “Martinez 45” jerseys over the past four years. And, to steal a phrase from the late Desi Arnaz (as Ricky Ricardo), Omar Minaya has “some ‘splainin’ to do” as to why Pedro went to the Phillies when his heart was still with the Mets.

If there was any confusion as to where Pedro wanted to pitch in 2009, he cleared it up at his press conference in Philadelphia:

I was hoping the Mets would make a move and they didn’t, so I decided to wait. It wasn’t my decision to not be in New York. It was someone else’s.

Look, I’ll be the first to question whether Pedro can help an MLB team right now. And, my opinion is clouded by my bias for him — I love watching him pitch and compete, and that may make me feel he’s better than he really is at this point of his career. Being as objective as possible, it’s hard to say that Martinez can be more than a 5-inning pitcher right now. Though, for a “measly” one million bucks, I find it hard to believe that he’s more of a gamble than Tim Redding was at $2.2M. Even if Redding can outperform Martinez in on the mound, I doubt highly that anyone outside of Rochester bought tickets specifically because Redding was the scheduled starting pitcher. And I haven’t seen too many “Redding 44” Mets jerseys in Citi Field (or Modell’s, for that matter).

Maybe Pedro Martinez could have helped out at the back end of the Mets rotation. Maybe not. But of all the factors going into the decision, I’m not getting the “bad clubhouse guy” thing. If the Mets are trying to smear his reputation — heck, if anyone is looking to smear it — it only makes me want to pull for Pedro all the more, even in a Phillies uniform. I might have felt differently if Omar Minaya didn’t string him along — as well as all the prospective season-ticket buyers — with news in late January suggesting that the Mets were still considering bringing him back.

Can Pedro help the Phillies? Who knows? Certainly, he should be at least as effective as Rodrigo Lopez, and we all remember what Lopez did to the Mets in his first start since the Nixon administration. To me, it’s a low-risk move by Philly, and if Pedro can win four or five games in the second half, it makes the Mets look REALLY bad. Can’t you just see this drama setting itself up? The Mets playing the second game of a doubleheader against the Phillies on Sunday, September 13th, 19 games behind the Phillies, and losing to Pedro on national TV (FOX) to mathemetically eliminate them from the NL East title? It could happen.

If you’re interested, my wife looked at the signing, compared it to the Tim Redding, Freddy Garcia, and Oliver Perez contracts, and had this to say:

“The Mets are stupid”

Hard to argue.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude July 16, 2009 at 8:44 am
    “The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if someone in the Mets front office offered a few favors to some people in the media to spread some filth and malaise regarding Pedro, to help explain why they didn’t re-sign him.”

    Seriously, Joe? Seriously? You seriously don’t think the Mets have anything better to do than to pay off some members of the media to spread lies around about Pedro simply to cover their ass in case Pedro manages to put together some good starts for the Phillies? Even if I were desperate enough to knock the Mets to buy into this theory, don’t you think the Mets would have gotten into contact with more established sports hosts than Seth Everett and Don La Freca to smear Pedro? I mean, I’m sure Mike Francesa would jump at the opportunity to dump all over Pedro, and who has a larger audience and louder voice on the airwaves than him?

    But no, I can’t even fathom buying into this malarkey. Why? Because much like how newspaper columnists write racy articles to attract more readers, radio talk show hosts will spew nonsense and garbage to anyone within earshot just so they can be perceived as ‘edgy’ and get a larger audience. And this is a classic example. You are right – Pedro was a saint during his tenure as a Met. There is nary a bad thing to say about him as a New Yorker, unless you’re a spiteful Yankee fan. There is also no evidence of anything Pedro did while he was a Met to make anyone believe he’s a bad clubhouse presense, a diva, a stubborn mule, or a jerk. So all this crap coming from ESPN radio is unfounded and baseless. Yet, they say it anyway because now blogs like this – and I’m sure newspapers and additional radio shows are to follow – pick up on the topic and reference the Don La Greca show as the source of the issue. And overnight, just by saying something stupid and factless, ESPN radio has seen their ratings go up. Are you following the bouncing ball yet? This is the reason for the venom spewed at Pedro, not because of some conspiracy theory that the Mets put some 2-bit hacks up to slandering Pedro to appease the fan base. That would be reading WAY too far into things, I’m afraid.

    Fair and simple: the Mets didn’t resign Pedro because they didn’t think he’d be much help anymore for the type of money he was looking for – even if that money is only a “measly” million bucks. And I’d say there’s a damn good chance of seeing exactly why Pedro wasn’t resigned when he takes the mound for the Phillies. Like you, I admire Pedro and reflect fondly upon the times he was here; but I just don’t see him being anything better than what is already being thrown against the wall.

  2. Dave July 16, 2009 at 9:10 am
    I can totally see the issue of Pedro messing with the Phillies chemistry. It’s not that he’s a bad guy. He’s just a big personality. At the time he signed with the Mets a big personality was needed to breathe new life into the team. He accomplished that over his 4 years in New York. But the Phillies don’t need that kind of personality. They are already a winner and don’t need someone to show them how to walk the walk. Just having someone with a personality as big as his can disrupt their chemistry. It’s not that he’s a bad guy or that there’s something wrong with him.
  3. Walnutz15 July 16, 2009 at 9:16 am
    Aww, c’mon now Josev….if anything — I view this type of talk as:

    “Don LeGreca is showing why he’s great to listen-to as Michael Kay’s co-host…..but isn’t necessarily a guy you want to listen to for 2 full weeks while he’s on vacation.”

    Here’s the real story:

    Pedro Martinez’s numbers over the past three years as a heavily-relied-upon Met starter:

    48 Games

    269.2 IP
    268 H
    90 BB
    1.33 WHIP
    142 ER
    4.74 ERA

    BAA last year: .294/.364/.488

    There was a definite-decrease in velocity.

    A couple of serious injuries that he needed to work-through, and go back on the DL for….

    He’d been dealing with the death of his father….something that takes it’s toll, without a definitive timeframe involved.

    The wear and tear of upwards of 2,800 career innings started to kick in, not even 2 years into his Met-contract. Hell, he came here with a torn labrum….and was likely the reason the Red Sox gave us the “pleasure” of throwing 4-years at his feet.

    Pedro was never a given to come back to the rotation in 2009. And his demand for $5MM or so over the winter clinched that, seemingly off the bat.

    I would never have handed out that kind of contract — even “discounted”……and at the time, it made other options such as Garcia, Hernandez and Redding seem like sufficient-enough substitutes to replace him.

    ** Though, I’ve hated Tim Redding from before Day-1, so you’ll never convince me on that waste of space….**

    Don’t get me wrong…….I LOVE Pedro, and would never underestimate his coming back to be effective — but he looked flat-enough in 2008, even with his breaking stuff….and is apparently “iffy” right now, in terms of what he might be able to provide down the stretch.

    Problem was: he was always looking for some sort of 1-year “I’m Pedro Martinez” $8MM-$10MM deal…..which fell to around $5MM or so…..and is now somewhat realistic, financially, that there’s a couple months left in the season.

    He may not be “DONE”, but I think he’s alot closer than he is approaching his “Cy Young”-caliber stuff of the past.

    Remember, this is a guy who’s had 10 “quality starts” over the past 3 seasons — and only 3 since June of 2006.

    The Mets aren’t at a point where they should just be handed even more money out to glorified cheerleaders…..and I think that’s definitely what they were all too willing to let walk.

    Adios, Petey….chances are, you still have enough in the tank to scatter 6 hits through 7 innings vs. our lineup. LOL

    Hopefully, he does destroy the Phillies clubhouse…..but that was NEVER the case here, and is just more smoke being blown by the NY media, to try and drum up tabloid-like stories.

    As William Wagner once stated: “(Flippin’) Shocker.”

  4. wally July 16, 2009 at 9:18 am
    The Mets couldn’t get away with getting “big name” media types like Francesa to dump on Pedro because (a) it would be bigger news for Francesa to expose the Mets for making the suggestion and (b) weenies like La Greca and Everett need the favors and the attention.

    La Greca is openly a Mets fan and would do anything to watch a game from the Wilpon’s suite. Seth Everett is a wussy beotch Francesa-wannabe who obviously didn’t get enough attention as a child.

  5. isuzudude July 16, 2009 at 9:32 am
    So I take it you are a drinker of the conspiracy kool-aid, wally?
  6. wally July 16, 2009 at 10:09 am
    it has a better flavor than the Wilpon Kool Aid … and no aftertaste
  7. Kenny July 16, 2009 at 1:45 pm
    lets see… the mets have quietly attacked players and coaches through leaks and rumors, in an effort to cover their asses before.

    bobby valentine.
    ramon castro.
    ryan church.
    vlad guerrero.

    there are probably more but i can’t think of any right now. welcome to the club pedro!

  8. joejanish July 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm
    ‘dude, there were no Mets games to report on for the past few days so I reported on the blasphemies of Don LaGreca and Seth Everett. Maybe they both were looking to get some “fame” on two-bit blogs like this one but somehow I doubt they need the exposure (hmm … 5000 MetsToday readers vs. 20 million talkradio listeners per week … yeah).

    Maybe I “took the bait” and am now “promoting” LaGreca and Everett. But the way I see it, I’m the check and balance guy, and calling these “professionals” to the carpet with actual evidence to their dirty rumors. Not that they’ll hear me, but I have to try.

    If the mass media didn’t tar and feather every little blogger who speculated about players on PEDs, I might not be so quick to call out the pros for their lack of substantiation on any story.

  9. isuzudude July 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm
    Well, Joe, if your point of the article was to call attention to and denounce these yo-yos for slandering Pedro Martinez and creating a story out of thin air, then I’m in your corner all the way. But the article doesn’t read that way to me. Instead, I was under the impression that you bought into the philosophy that the Mets are putting members of the media to work as part of their damage control team, which seems far fetched and highly unethical. I mean, that is a pretty major accusation.

    And for those, outted here via their comments, who are falling for this conspiracy theory, I think the question then becomes: why are you a fan of the Mets? If you believe the Mets engage in such underhanded and malicious actions, then why continue to do business with them? It’s like you’re rooting for the bad guy. If you are speaking badly of the Mets and discouraging their alleged actions, then are you not of the belief that you are above their dirty tactics? You could say that it doesn’t matter because every team plays dirty and the Mets were your favorite team back when you were naive enough to think the Mets were righteous so it’s meaningless to switch allegiances now. But still, if that’s the case, then the Mets are just keeping up with the Jones’, so why make a big deal of this at all? Unless a whole slew of people are going to suddenly dropkick their favoritism of the Mets to the curb, I really don’t see how this conspiracy theory holds much weight.

  10. joejanish July 16, 2009 at 3:51 pm
    ‘dude, first of all why is so hard to believe that the Mets would use people in the media as instruments of “damage control” when we know they’re using them to force out positive messages? The organization is not selling the tickets and making the money they were expecting, and when it comes to the gain or loss of millions of dollars, I’d be surprised to find them stop short of “leaking” information that could make them look better. Remember this is the same team who has handed enormous power to Tony Bernazard — hardly the most scrupulous character in baseball.

    Secondly, I think there are already a lot of current Mets fans who have stopped “doing business” with the Wilpons over the past few years, both for their underhanded actions and their blatant ones. Take a look at all the empty seats on any given night.

    But because a person can’t stand the way the Wilpons run their organization means they can’t still be a Mets fan? The fanaticism is for the team, not for the front office’s actions. And what are angry Mets fans supposed to do, root for the Yankees? The Phillies? The Newark Bears?

    People remained Mets fans through the 1970s, in spite of ownership’s continual bumbling — and they’ll remain through these cursed Wilpon years.

  11. Hits Tandy July 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm
    You have 5k visits a week? Sweet.
  12. Taylor July 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm
    Seth Everett is stupid.