Tuesday August 26, 2003
DISCUSSION QUESTION OF THE WEEK - be sure to check out and respond to this weekís Question. Then check back on Friday to see the results.
Red Sox Trade Pedro Martinez
Did that get your attention??? Well, read onÖ
Well, as Iíve mentioned, Iíve got two fantasy football drafts in the next two nights, so I will have to keep this short and spend some time studying!
The Twins had an off day yesterday, so there isnít much baseball to talk about. For some Twins knowledge today, be sure to check out the Twins Geek posting today! Dan Landherr analyses and grades each of the Twins players. I find myself agreeing with much of it, especially his comments regarding guys like Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau, and Lew Ford.
But, I would like to cover just one topic today; the situation in Boston with star pitcher Pedro Martinez.
Pedro Martinez missed his scheduled start last Thursday due to a throat illness. In the Boston talk radio circuit, Martinez was being called out as not really being sick, as not being tough, as letting down the team. He was in the hospital getting fluids intravenously for dehydration, and he had a 101 degree temperature.
Thereís no arguing that Pedro Martinez was truly ill. His six-hour hospital stay says enough to that.
There is absolutely no questioning the pitching ability that Pedro Martinez has either, and has shown throughout his career. This season, he is 10-3 with a 2.29 ERA. Yesterday, he came back and shut out the Seattle Mariners. In his career, heís 162-66. His career walks and hits per inning is 1.01, which is third all-time! In his 11 seasons coming into this year, Pedro Martinez has been a six time All-Star and won three Cy Young Awards. His 10.56 strikeouts per 9 innings is third best all-time. His 171 ERA+ is the best on the All-Time list.
So, yes, heís one of the greatest pitchers ever. Was the negative press he got over the weekend fair? Absolutely not! But, I donít think heís too big for a little negative publicity.
At the end of last season, with the Boston Red Sox still in contention for the AL Wild Card, it was Pedro Martinez who refused to pitch the last couple of weeks of the season. He claimed his arm wasnít quite right. Of course, that was never verified, but Martinez was allowed to go back home.
Red Sox owner John Henry is saying the right things,
ďWhen he has a big start, there's no bigger gamer on this staff than Pedro. You would think every fan in New England knows how badly Pedro wants to win. He doesn't want to come out of a ballgame. We're all aware of that. I'm not calling Pedro's reaction an overreaction because if somebody takes issue with Pedro's heart, if I were Pedro, I would be very angry about that.Ē
No bigger gamer. So where was he again at the end of last season? At home????!!!!
And, how did Pedro himself respond:
"I will make $17.5 million and then I am out of here,"
Yeah, that shows the heart of Pedro, or where the heart of Pedro is focused. He spent all of spring training begging for the Sox to pick up his $17.5 million option for the 2004 season. They did it. Itís all about the money with Pedro. Money and pride and ensuring no one says anything bad about him.
If I were GM Theo Epstein, I would try my best to trade Pedro Martinez as soon as this season is over and trades are allowed. As good as Martinez is, he comes with a LOT of baggage, and a big time ego.
(Note - I do realize that those of you reading this in New England probably consider this sacrilege, so Iíd really love to get some e-mails and hear from people out there!)
The reasons are numerous as to why it would make sense. $17.5 million off the payroll. Think about that. If Martinez were a free agent, he probably wouldnít get more than $12 or $13 million annually. If he stayed with the Red Sox, he would get more than that. Each year, Pedro misses a few starts for various reasons, and because he is so good, and so dominant, he is definitely babied. Iím not saying thatís a bad decision. But hear me out:
For Pedro Martinez, the Red Sox could probably get 2 or 3 top prospects from a team which would 1.) lower the Red Sox payroll, and 2.) give them prospects to trade. Right now, the Red Sox minor league system is empty!
But thatís not it. With the $17.5 million that comes off of their books, the Red Sox can be even stronger in the free agent market. They can drop former Twin Todd Walker, and go after a Jose Vidro. They could get rid of Trot Nixon, who will also be ready for a big raise next season, and make a run at RF Vlad Guerrero.
Think about it.
Money cleared from the Red Sox (under my thinking):
Pedro Martinez - $17.5 million
Todd Walker - $5.5 million this year, probably $6 million next year.
Trot Nixon - $4 million this year, probably $6 million next year.
Thatís approximately $29.5 million reduced.
Money added (under my thinking):
Vladmir Guerrero - $13-$15 million.
Jose Vidro - $5.5 million this year, probably $7 million next year.
Javier Vazquez - $ 6 million this year, probably $8 million next year.
Thatís approximately $28 - $30 million added.
So, that would be a wash monetarily. Then the Red Sox could chose to increase their payroll by a few million dollars (which based on how they spend money shouldnít be a problem), and pick up a couple more pitchers to add into the rotation. The rest can go to re-signing the players they chose to.
Picture this Boston Lineup next year:
1. Johnny Damon CF
2. Jose Vidro 2B
3. Nomar Garciaparra SS
4. Manny Ramirez LF
5. Vladmir Guerrero RF
6. David Ortiz DH
7. Kevin Millar 1B
8. Jason Varitek C
9. Bill Mueller 3B
That looks like a pretty solid lineup to me. Even stronger than the incredible lineup theyíre putting together now. And, by losing Pedro Martinez, Todd Walker and Trot Nixon off the books, it is possible without adding payroll.
Also, although not quite as good as Pedro Martinez, Javier Vazquez is a very similar strikeout pitching, low ERA pitcher, who could do quite well, especially with the lineup the Red Sox could put up.
So, I would think this is something that Theo Epstein should consider. The Red Sox brass is saying all the right things. Theyíre saying they want to keep Pedro Martinez and Nomar Garciaparra happy. My priority would definitely be Garciaparra, and based on the contracts of Alex Rodriguez and certainly Derek Jeter, Garciaparra will cost a lot!
I think itís worth thinking about. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this topic. Iíd love to hear your comments, or disagreements, or additions to this thought! I think itís fun to think about and discuss. Send me an e-mail!
Discussion Question of the Week
The Twins have 35 games left in the season. They are in a very close race with the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals. What do you think will happen the rest of the season? Will the Twins win the division? Who will step up? What are the keys to their success? Who will fall flat on his face? You can be serious if you want. You can be funny! Iíd just like to hear what the rest of you are thinking on this.
Think about the question a little bit. Thenwith your thoughts. Again, I will post the thoughts I receive in next Fridayís post.
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