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Pedro and Pudge proving their worth?


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From ESPN.com

Steve Phillips

Both Pedro Martinez and Ivan Rodriguez could help major league teams this season. After watching Martinez last year, I had real doubts whether he'd be a competitive major league pitcher again.

But after seeing his two three-inning outings at the World Baseball Classic, the second of which came on two days' rest, I believe that his shoulder is healthy. He showed the ability to bounce back from one outing to the next. The velocity on his fastball was in the range of 90 mph. He also had good bite on his curveball, and his changeup is as deceptive as ever. When Pedro's shoulder was bothering him the past couple of years, he would drop his shoulder in his delivery. He wasn't doing that at all in Puerto Rico during the WBC.

Another good sign was that he was dancing and smiling again, something you didn't see much in New York last season. His father's illness and subsequent death took a toll on him, and it has taken him some time to recover. He still has a heavy heart, but he's starting to come out of it and clearly wants to compete again as a major league pitcher.

His preference is to pitch for a contender in the National League with the hopes of adding a World Series ring for an NL team to go with the one he won with the Boston Red Sox in 2004. I think the Mets or the Dodgers would make sense for him. I know the Mets reportedly have no interest in him, but both teams have questions at the back end of their rotations that Pedro could help answer. Really, he's a fifth starter right now.

He came out of the bullpen for the Dominican team, but the challenges of getting him warmed up in a timely fashion and bouncing back on short rest consistently would prevent him from doing that over the course of a big league season.

I have no doubt that Pudge Rodriguez still has some baseball left to play, too. I had a conversation with him recently, and he addressed all the issues that teams seem to have with him these days.

According to him, the idea that he would sign a deal only if he were the every-day catcher is false. Although he thinks he could still play every day, he feels that any role a club would have for him is better than the one he has currently, which is no role at all. Some clubs also have the idea that they don't have the money to sign a player with his pedigree. He explained that, like any player, he'd like to get the best deal possible, but acknowledged that he has made a lot of money in his career and that he's not making any money at all right now, so any deal he'd get would be better than nothing.

Maybe the most difficult worry for Rodriguez to hear about is people saying they don't think he handles a pitching staff very well. That issue caused him to raise an eyebrow. He says he's not really sure where that comes from, pointing to the fact that he has taken multiple pitching staffs to the playoffs. But he acknowledged that if it's a concern that teams have, he'd be willing to talk about it and show that he does put in the time and effort to help develop pitchers properly.

Pudge is as humble and hungry as I've ever seen him. He even caught in winter ball this year to try to showcase his abilities. He obviously had a strong performance in Puerto Rico's game with Panama at the WBC, going 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double and 4 RBIs. I feel that teams such as the Marlins and Astros could clearly use him this season.

But the Marlins seem as if they are going with John Baker, the young, left-handed-hitting catcher. The Astros apparently are going to go with Humberto Quintero and J.R. Towles as their one-two punch. The Mets are another team that could use Rodriguez's services. They have some questions about their starting pitching and could use Pudge to improve their offense. He would clearly be an upgrade over Brian Schneider at the plate.

So we have two future Hall of Famers desperate to play at the major league level and, in my view, they are both very capable of performing. But somebody has to give them a job. I think they both helped their causes at the WBC.

Whether it's enough to get them signed remains to be seen. Although Pedro's performance, especially his high strike percentage, was impressive, the Dominican team has been eliminated, which means -- unfortunately for Martinez -- that he doesn't have any more chances to show that he still can pitch. Rodriguez has the opposite problem. If a team is going to sign him, it would like to have him in camp as soon as possible to start working with the pitching staff. Puerto Rico's success actually might hurt his chances.

Whether they like it or not, it could be the end of the road for these guys and we might not see them again until five years later when they both show up on the Hall of Fame ballot.

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Pudge was done last year, though by all accounts he did behave in his brief stint with the Yankees. he at least understood he's on the downside and modified his attitiude accordingly. he might be a solid backup catcher at a decent price. But he isn't catching 125 games.

Martinez is incapable of that kind of attitude adjustment. No one needs to overpay him and his hittable 91 MPH fastball to be a #5 or a bullpen guy clowning around like he's still the best starter in MLB. And he expects to get paid, so to hell with that.

"Another good sign was that he was dancing and smiling again, something you didn't see much in New York last season. " Phillips didn't watch many Mets games when Pedro was with the team, apparently.

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Mets 5th starter needs to go 6-7 innings consistently to save our bullpen. This is part of what killed them last year.

Pedro cant do that.

yeah well who do we have that's gonna do that now? righ tnow it looks like the only thing we're gonna get consistently out of our 5th starter is a pitcher getting shelled for a few innings before he gets yanked.

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Pudge easily can be a starter in NL, i still dont see why he doesnt have a job.

I'm not saying there isn't a team out there where he couldn't catch, but don't think that team is the Mets...

Ivan Rodriguez 2008 .276/.319/.394/.714

Brian Schneider 2008 .257/.339/.367/.707

Pretty similar caliber hitters at this point, and I don't think anybody will argue for Pudge Defensively at this point. He's still a terrible game-caller.

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yeah well who do we have that's gonna do that now? righ tnow it looks like the only thing we're gonna get consistently out of our 5th starter is a pitcher getting shelled for a few innings before he gets yanked.

Livan, Garcia both have thrown for lots of innings in the past. Redding-- eh..

Niese has no past.

Pedro cant pitch past 5 innings anymore.

Its still early in Spring training- lots of time.

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