Pedro Martinez wants to pitch in the majors this season, but the three-time Cy Young winner prefers retiring to his fishing boat if the alternative is accepting a Tom Glavine-like contract. Glavine, Martinez’s former teammate with the Mets, signed with the Braves for a base salary of $1 million.
“If I wanted to pitch that bad, I probably would,” Martinez said about agreeing to a low guarantee comparable to Glavine’s. “But I don’t think I’m in that stage. I believe I’m very comfortable. I’m not going to let anybody disrespect my abilities or the way I am. I wouldn’t say I would want to pitch that bad.”
As Jason noted earlier today, Pedro isn’t exactly in the position to be demanding anything in this market. I find the Tom Glavine analogy particularly instructive. Last year, Glavine threw something like 60 innings with an ERA+ in the mid 70s. Last year Pedro threw something like 100 innings with an ERA+ in the mid 70s. Yes, I suppose 40 innings means something, but I don’t think it means nearly as much as Pedro has in mind.
That said, I’m not going to pile on here, because I kind of like his overall attitude about all of this:
Martinez said he isn’t annoyed that he’s unemployed.
“No chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I understand business, and I understand the ugly face of baseball, which is the business of baseball. Whether you like it or not, the last few years I’ll be the first one to tell you I haven’t been the Pedro Martinez that I’m used to being. If nobody takes a chance, well, I’ll go fishing. If I’m healthy and I’m able to do the things that I used to do, I think a lot of people are going to probably regret not taking a chance.”
Martinez said that he particularly holds no grudge toward Omar Minaya. The Mets GM signed Martinez to the four-year, $53 million contract that expired during the offseason, but has not moved to re-sign him.
“If I happen to stay out, it’s not his fault,” Martinez said.
Athletes are different from you and me in that they spend a huge portion of their life in competition. Many of them gear up for such competition by building their enemies up to greater threats than they actually are. This is understandable and probably even useful as they ride into battle. Unfortunately, such a posture usually spills over into the business side of things, with players finding enemies and disrespect in places where, quite frankly, they don’t exist.
It’s good to see Pedro eschewing that game. He knows he isn’t the pitcher he once was. He knows that if he were, people would be beating down his door to sign him. They’re not, and that’s cool with him, even if he thinks they’re making a mistake.