As much as SportsNet New York tried to stoke emotion by airing Pedro
Martinez’s presser with the Phillies on Wednesday, he might as well of
been Steve Trachsel up there. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh, but
hear me out.
Martinez has this almost mythic quality among Mets fans for “turning
the franchise around,” but how can he get credit for something that
never actually happened? He ended up as a four-year window-dressing for
a poorly constructed franchise. Sure, Pedro had his moments with the
club, from the 12 strikeouts against the Reds in his first start as a
Met to the time the sprinklers went off at Shea Stadium (that was cool,
huh?) to the 2.82 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 2005. His starts were an event
in 2005 and the early part of 2006. But that’s where it ends. One good
year and three clunkers. All for the bargain price of $53 million.
It was fun. It was nice. He’s a future Hall of Famer after all, but
Petey never threw a pitch in the 2006 playoffs. And as the Mets were
choking away another division title in 2008, Martinez had a 7.77 ERA
and 1.95 WHIP in four September starts. Not what the Mets paid for.
So I look at Martinez for what he is. A guy who put up a -2.2 VORP
in 2008. 76 National League starters with at least 80 innings pitched
ranked higher than him. And this included the likes of Tim Redding,
Saul Rivera and Shawn Chacon. You know, real difference-makers.
Was Martinez putting on the jersey of the rival-Phillies supposed to
hurt? Knowing that he has a 7.85 ERA in four career starts at Citizens
Bank Park made it a lot easier to swallow.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.
The Red Sox inked Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract back in August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.