After three straight losing seasons the New York Mets were desperate to turn things around in 2005. New General Manager Omar Minaya decided that in order to fill the increasing number of empty seats at Shea Stadium that the Mets needed to be aggressive in the free agent market. One of the items on his wish list was a dominating starting pitcher and it just so happened that a four-time Cy Young Award winner by the name of Pedro Martinez was available. Martinez was coming off a 16-9 season in which he played an integral part in helping the Boston Red Sox win their first World Series title in 86 years, but there were also whispers around the league that his best days were behind him. While many teams were interested in his services they were all weary of offering him what he wanted, a four-year contract. In order to entice Martinez to come to New York Minaya knew he had to offer Pedro exactly that. Determined to get his man Omar Minaya offered Pedro a four year 53-million-dollar contract and just like that the Mets had their number one starter.
Pedro Martinez took the hill on Opening Day 2005 with electric stuff striking out twelve batters in six innings. He left the game with a 6-3 lead but unfortunately the bullpen could not hold it, which was an all too familiar occurrence in 2005, and the Mets lost 7-6. But it was his second start of the season where he proved to be the ace the Mets were looking for when they signed him. The Mets were standing at 0-5 on the season and were in desperate need of a win. Pedro took the mound and proceeded to pitch a complete game two hitter striking out nine as the Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves 6-1 to record their first win of the season. From that point on Martinez pitched like his old Cy Young self and proved to be worth every penny the Mets were paying him. Not only was he winning games but there was electricity in the air and increased attendance each time he took the mound at Shea Stadium. It was never more evident than on June 7 against the Houston Astros when he flirted with throwing the first no hitter in franchise history, he settled for a two hitter with twelve strikeouts. Martinez would finish the season 15 -8 and helped the Mets to their first winning season since 2001. He led the Mets pitching staff in wins, innings pitched (217), ERA (2.82), strikeouts (208) and complete games (4).
Martinez got off to a blistering start in 2006 winning his first five starts of the season, including the 200th victory of his career on April 17. But he began to struggle and finished the first half of the season with a 7-4 record. Despite his struggles he was still named to his second straight National League All-Star team. In the middle of the season a calf injury sidelined him for a month. When he returned he continued to struggle and after losing four straight games in September where he posted an ERA over 15, the Mets shut him down for the year when it was determined he had a torn rotator cuff. Pedro finished the season with a 9-8 record and because of his injury did not make the Mets postseason roster.
After off-season rotator cuff surgery Pedro Martinez missed the majority of the 2007 season. He returned to the rotation on September 3 and won his first game in over a year. Martinez would pitch in five games for the Mets in September and seemed to be his old self posting a 3-1 record with a 2.57 ERA in 28 innings. But despite his efforts the Mets suffered through the worst collapse in baseball history, blowing a 7-game lead with 17 games to go in the season and missed the postseason.
Based on his strong finish to the 2007 season expectations were high for Martinez entering 2008. With the off-season acquisition of Johan Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner with the Minnesota Twins, Pedro was now the Mets number two starter. But it was not meant to be, in his first start of the season Pedro pulled his hamstring and was lost for the next two months. When he returned he was not the same pitcher as he struggled through the remainder of the season posting a disappointing 5-6 record with a 5.61 ERA.
The Mets decided to part ways with Pedro following the season by not offering him a new contract even though he expressed interest in returning. In his four years with the Mets Martinez won 32 while losing 23 with a 3.88 ERA. Even though his Met career didn’t turn out exactly the way both sides had planned, New York fans showed their appreciation for Martinez by giving him a standing ovation as he left the mound in his final game at Shea Stadium on September 25.
\While with the Mets Martinez wore number 45.
Pedro Martinez also played for the following teams:
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1992,1993
Montreal Expos – 1994-1997
Boston Red Sox – 1998-2004
Philadelphia Phillies – 2009
Pedro Martinez was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015
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