Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Joe Martinez: Why Not? (UPDATED)

Posted by JD on December 22, 2010

UPDATE: The Indians acquired Martinez for a PTBNL or cash today. I like the guy and everything, but the only way I’d make that trade is if the BTBNL was Luis Hernandez.

From MLB Trade Rumors comes news that the Pirates have designated Joe Martinez for assignment today. Not the biggest of news, I know. But I’d like to see the Mets make a claim on him anyway.

Martinez will be 28 next seasons and doesn’t seem to have overwhelming stuff. Scouting reports that I’ve found on the web read much like this one from Pirates Prospects: four pitches with a fastball that sits between 86-90 but can touch 91-92 on occasion and some indication that he’s a “ground ball machine”. That hasn’t translated at the major league level: Martinez has pitched 49 innings over 18 games (six as a starter), generating a 6.16 ERA and 1.872 WHIP while striking out only 28 batters. Fangraphs.com shows that his xFIP is 4.76, indicating that he may have been victimized by some bad defense behind him.

Digging a little deeper, we see that he has 2.0 BB/9 and 7.3 K/9 ratios in his minor league career. Martinez also has a 3.58 ERA and 1.218 WHIP over 702 innings. Not the stuff that dreams are made of, but indicative that he could be a productive long man in the bullpen who makes an occasional spot start if necessary. And who knows? Maybe the change of scenery combined with a new pitching coach and a pitcher-friendly ballpark result in a slight bump in performance?

Martinez basically profiles as a right-handed Pat Misch: a replacement level pitcher who can contribute in spots. He’s not the fifth starter that the Mets need, but with an open spot on the roster they have the ability to take a gamble on him. Yes, they’ll need that spot (and more) when they sign a starting pitcher and a fourth outfielder, but what’s the harm in putting Martinez on the roster now? Worst case scenario, they DFA him when the time comes and the Pirates re-claim him.

I won’t be upset if the Mets choose to pass on Joe Martinez: there are plenty of other replacement-level pitchers in the free agent pool at this point. In fact, I kind of expect them to make similar moves (mostly involving non-roster invites to spring training) once they sign their free agent pitcher of choice. But why not take a shot now, while the Pirates are trying to use the holiday slowdown to pass a useful player through waivers? Can’t hurt, right?

 

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