The local papers and talk shows are buzzing about the return of Pedro Martinez to the Mets, and the introduction of Joba Chamberlain to the starting rotation for the Yankees. Check the back pages and the sports talk shows this afternoon and that’s all that you’ll hear about.
It’ll be a fun night because New York baseball fans will get to see Joba for the Yankees early and then Pedro in the nightcap from San Francisco. Both teams need a boost from their pitchers. The Yanks are toiling away in fourth place, seven games behind the Rays. Equally as mediocre, the Mets are also in fourth place and four and a half games back of the Phillies.
Unfortunately, I like the Yankees’ chances better with a young, power arm coming into the rotation from the bullpen. The Mets are relying on Pedro Martinez to utilize his guile because his power has long since disappeared from his 36 year old arm.
Martinez hasn’t had 200 strikeouts in a season since his first year with the Mets in 2005. He’s only made six starts in the last year and a half with three wins to show for it. His body is showing it’s age. Now that MLB is testing for performance enhancing drugs, I don’t think that we’ll see nearly the number of players having success in their late 30’s and early 40’s that we’ve seen over the last fifteen years.
I don’t believe that Pedro ever indulged in that sort of thing. But we have to recognize that age is more of a factor for players than it was in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. It’s impossible to deny. And it may be a factor in the new “youth movement” that we’re seeing in baseball.
Teams are beginning to commit money to players that are younger and less experienced. It makes sense. There will always be the occasional freak of nature like Nolan Ryan who pitched until he was 46, and had 200 strikeouts at age 44. But the days of a multitude of players having tremendous success in their late 30’s and beyond are now gone.
Show us what you have left Pedro…