Friday, August 24, 2007

Thoughts on the Return of Pedro

In an email from Jerry K., he asks what my take is on the future of Pedro.

When the Mets signed Pedro Martinez after the 2004 season, I was just as shocked as anyone. I vividly remember the day they signed him. A co-worker of mine had some sources in the Mets organization and he received an email that said Pedro was getting his physical ‘as we speak’ – before anyone knew the deal was signed.

At the time, rumors were rampant that Omar was hot on the enigmatic right hander, but I never thought it would happen. I actually didn’t want it to happen either. I didn’t want the Mets to grossly overpay for a guy who was clearly past his prime and was doomed for the DL. Plus, his reputation in Boston was less than stellar. He was aloof, and considered a selfish jerk. Didn’t want him, didn’t need that type of personality on the team.

So when news start to trickle down that the Mets were signing Martinez, my co-worker and I scrambled out of work to listen to WFAN in the car. Sure enough, the deal was done and the greatest right handed pitcher of our generation was on his way to Flushing.

So here we are two and a half years later, and the legendary Pedro Martinez is on the cusp of making his long-awaited return to the rotation. Or is he? One day he’s coming, the next day he has a stiff neck. One day he’s feeling as strong as ever, the next day his feet hurt.

One thing is for sure, I am really looking forward to his first start back with the big club. Pedro brings an energy, an excitement to the game that only Jose Reyes can match. His presence alone instills an undeniable confidence in the players around him. I said I was not in favor of signing him a few years ago. I was wrong. Even if he never pitches again, it was money well spent. Not only has he been the consummate team player (he called Jorge Sosa a few weeks ago after seeing a glitch in his delivery on TV to let him know) and all-around good guy, he brought an identity to this team, gave it a personality, and set the path for others to come here. Omar was spot on when he said this signing (of Martinez) will make other players want to come to Shea…even those undiscovered jewels; the kids in the Dominican, in Puerto Rico, on an on, will want to play for the Mets. That was never the case. They all wanted to go to the Yankees.

I guess the big question is: How will Pedro perform when he does finally return? I really don’t know. I honestly do not have any expectations that he’ll do well. I don’t know how much he can give us…An emotional lift...Absolutely. Am I excited for him to pitch again? No question. But we need to be realistic about this. He’s recovering from a serious injury and it’s difficult to return to form so quickly. Even Pedro himself is unsure how he’ll do. He hasn’t pitched well in Rookie league. Granted, it’s more about how he feels after he pitches, rather than the results right now, but he could easily get hammered in the Bigs.

My hope is that the Great Pedro Martinez returns to my favorite team and reinvents himself just in time to win us a World Series title. If anyone can do, it’s him. Be well, Pedro. Be well.

1 comment:

dave said...

Very well said. I didn't want Pedro either, but I remember watching his first start with the Mets and seeing the way his fastball and changeup would move through the zone and I was converted.