Pedro Martinez Is Far From Being Finished as a Pitcher

Pedro Martinez Is Far From Being Finished as a Pitcher If you could script the perfect story arc to the career of Pedro Martinez, how would it end?

How about with Game 6 of the World Series, pitching in front of 50,000 strong at Yankee Stadium?

It was the perfect way for Pedro's 18 years in the major leagues to come full circle. He was back in the Bronx — back where he had struck out 17 Yankees on that unforgettable September night in 1999. Back where the Yankees had demoralized him in September of '04, beating him 11-1 and prompting him to call the Bronx Bombers his "daddy." Back where Pedro and the Red Sox, in the ALCS that no fan of either team will ever forget, got the last laugh one month later.

Pedro's last game of 2009 was under the brightest spotlight in the baseball universe — and it might have been his last game, period. He lost Game 6 of the World Series, 7-3, to Andy Pettitte and his fatherly Yankees, and it remains to be seen whether he'll ever pitch again.

It would be fitting to see Pedro hang it up now. He's 38, and he's lost the dominating touch that made him the best pitcher on the planet a decade ago. He can walk away now with his legacy intact — three months ago, he had nothing, and he made it all the way to the deciding game of the World Series. He didn't get another ring, but he can still walk away knowing he gave a heroic effort.

But it's not likely.

Pedro is the Brett Favre of the baseball world. He's the Michael Jordan. He's such an intense competitor that he can't bear the thought of walking away. You can take the ball away from Pedro if you pry it from his cold, dead hands. Otherwise, it's hard to imagine him quitting.

He's definitely still got something left. He's not the dominating Pedro we all remember in Boston, but he's a serviceable major league starter. And as long as he's able to find work, he'll probably take it.

It's looking less and less probable that the opportunity will come in Philadelphia. The Phillies haven't ruled out the veteran right-hander, but according to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., he's not anywhere near the top of the to-do list. The NL champs have bigger fish to fry.

"More specifically, our need at third base and in our bullpen," Amaro told this week. "Those two areas are our priorities."

Lord only knows where that leaves Pedro. The Phils are intent on addressing the future of third baseman Pedro Feliz, as well as strengthening their late-inning bridge to closer Brad Lidge. They're treating Pedro like a thing of the past.

Pedro's looking at the Phillies the same way. Listen to his agent, Fernando Cuza — the past-tense statements say it all.

“It’s something that I’ve always thought is very private,” Cuza said this week of his client's contract status in Philadelphia. "I know he had a wonderful time in Philadelphia. He loved the city. He loved the organization. It was a great experience. I know he enjoyed being part of the Phillies while he was there."

He was there. Now, he might have to move on.

And if that's the case, any contending National League team should jump at the chance to sign him. The Dodgers, the Cardinals, the Mets — who wouldn't love a battle-tested veteran arm who's proven his October muster? It's a no-brainer.

Pedro's time in Philadelphia may have run its course, but his career is still alive and kicking. We may have seen a storybook ending to the 2009 World Series, but we haven't seen the end of Pedro Martinez.

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