Friday, June 19, 2009

Can Pedro help the Cubs?

The Cubs are reportedly one of two teams, along with the Tampa Bay Rays, who are pursuing former All-Star pitcher Pedro Martinez.

The 37-year-old Martinez, who has been a free agent after his tenure with the Mets ended after last year, has been working out in his native Dominican Republic. According to ESPN, he is hoping to sign with a team that has a chance to win the pennant.

Whether the Cubs should sign him is a mixed bag, with arguments strong on both sides:

Martinez, during 17 seasons in the majors, is 214-99 in stints with the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox and most recently, the Mets.

But he is 37 years old.

He has shown signs of life during his most recent stint in New York, winning 15 games during his first season there in 2005. He also showed he might still be able to be a productive pitcher during this spring's World Baseball Classic, throwing six scoreless inning of one-hit in two appearances for the Dominican Republic team.

But those last four years in New York were plagued with injuries. Though he won 15 games in 2005, his innings dropped significantly the next three years, including only 32 innings that saw three wins in 2007 and five wins last year in 109 innings.

He could be a sign that the Cubs are still trying to win something this season despite being 31-31 and four games out of first place after yesterday's 6-5 win over the crosstown White Sox.

But he hasn't pitched in the majors during the entire year.

He has a World Series title under his belt, having helped the Red Sox win their first one since 1918 in 2004. Out of the current Cubs players, only Derrek Lee (2003 with Florida), Ted Lilly (2000 with the Yankees), Aaron Miles (2006 with St. Louis), and Alfonso Soriano (2000 with the Yankees) have been on World Series champion teams.

But starting pitching is actually one of the strengths of this Cubs team. Hitting and the bullpen are areas that should be addressed.

However, starting pitcher Rich Harden has been plagued with a bad back for the better part of the year, and you can never have too much starting pitching.

Will the Cubs actually go forward and sign Pedro Martinez? Not the best player available, but he couldn't hurt and might actually still have some gas left in the tank. He just might be the final piece that could help the Cubs turn this season around.

Copyright 2009 - Wait Til Next Century.

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