Phils to scout Pedro in Dominican Republic
Club officials will travel to Caribbean to watch veteran hurler
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have changed their minds on free-agent right-hander Pedro Martinez.
Team officials will watch Martinez throw Tuesday in the Dominican Republic. The Phillies said earlier this season they had no interest in Martinez, who went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA last season with the Mets.
"We are trying to explore all possible options as we try to improve our club," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday.
The organization is covering its bases in what is a thin market for starting pitching.
Maybe the Phils will like what they see. Maybe they won't.
But at least they will know. ESPN.com reported last month that "at least several teams walked away from Pedro Martinez's throwing session unimpressed and uninterested in signing him." The Los Angeles Times reported in June that the Angels lost interest in Martinez after when they watched him throw, his fastball most often clocked in the 85-mph range.
But ESPN.com reported Friday that an executive disputed reports that Martinez was utterly unimpressive.
"We didn't know what we were going to get," the executive told ESPN.com. "But it was a decent workout. We weren't expecting to see the 1997 Pedro. But for a workout, we thought he was in pretty good shape, and he threw the ball reasonably well."
Reports in April had Martinez seeking a $5 million contract, which is much more than the Phillies were willing to pay a few months ago. If he signed a prorated contract that price would be about $2.5 million, and could include incentives, which might be steep for the Phillies, who currently have a payroll of more than $132 million.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has said recently he would like the team to acquire a horse to replace Brett Myers, who is out for the remainder of the season after having surgery on his right hip. Manuel then said Monday that Martinez is a pitcher who "probably" can pitch five or six innings.
That doesn't sound like a horse.
"When I talk about a starter, I'm talking about a guy who's top-of-the rotation," Manuel said. "I'm talking about a [No.] 1 or a [No.] 2, some guy that can take us through seven, eight innings. Or when he goes out there to pitch, you think on that day, you've got a good chance of beating somebody or shutting somebody out.
"I think the five-inning pitcher, I think you can find those guys. Also, for myself -- and don't get me wrong, I want anybody that can improve our team, that means pitcher or position player or whatever -- but at the same time, I'm a firm believer that in the Major Leagues today, if you go back and look and you look at All-Star teams and things like that, the good pitchers are young pitchers. Young pitchers with high-ceiling stuff, plus they're good enough right now to throw strikes."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.