Pedro Martinez struggles to see Jacob deGrom leave the Mets
Pedro Martinez only had to look in the mirror for much of his career to recognize the best pitcher in baseball.
These days, the Hall of Fame right-hander sees Jacob deGrom as the title holder, even with the health issues that kept the Mets ace from pitching for nearly 13 months before his Aug. 2 return. But just because deGrom, 34, has that kind of talent doesn’t mean he should expect record pay this offseason, according to Martinez.
Last winter, Max Scherzer, who turned 38 in July, signed a three-year contract with the Mets for a record average annual value of $43.3 million. Martinez indicated on Tuesday that deGrom may have to lower his targets if he plans to exceed that number by opting out of his contract. DeGrom has repeatedly said he plans to retire after this season.
“When you talk about Scherzer, he goes out there and has been the most enduring pitcher in the big leagues for the last 15 years, so he’s a human freak – you just don’t find them every day” , Martinez said. Job. “Jacob is going to have to really think about where he belongs and how much can he offer the Mets because time away from the hump also diminishes your contract. It lowers your price, but I still trust deGrom to be wise and I can’t see him in any other uniform. I have trouble seeing him in any other uniform.
DeGrom has started four games for the Mets since returning from a stress reaction on his right shoulder blade that was diagnosed during spring training. In 23 ¹/₃ innings, he struck out 37 and pitched to a 2.31 ERA.
Martinez, who spent four seasons with the Mets near the end of his career and will attend Alumni Day on Saturday at Citi Field, was asked about the tightrope deGrom walks trying to give maximum effort while s ensuring he does not sustain another injury which will affect his next contract.
“It’s a risk they’re all going to have to take,” Martinez said. “The Mets are going to have to take a risk that deGrom gets injured again and deGrom is going to have to take a risk, probably having to see his salary a little lower than expected due to health issues. It’s a give and take, so find a balance.
Martinez’s admiration for the two-time Cy Young deGrom award winner runs deep.
“With all due respect to everyone who is doing great, I mean you can’t ignore [Justin] Verlander, Scherzer, guys like that, I still have to think deGrom is the best pitcher in all of baseball,” Martinez said. “If he stays healthy, I think he’ll just keep doing what he’s been doing. I don’t see anything diminishing – his stuff is still as sharp as it gets – and he knows how to throw. He’s got that poise, he’s got that presence on the mound, but it’s very unique. You don’t get a Jacob deGrom every day. If you want a perfect pitcher that you’re going to do with a computer, you do Jacob deGrom .
Martinez was part of talented Mets teams from 2005 to 2008 that only reached the playoffs once — in part because of his health issues. More than a decade later, Martinez can say the Mets have arrived.
“This is the first time I’ve seen and believed the Mets can do it all,” he said. “Anything the Dodgers can do. Anything the Houston Astros can do, the Yankees – any baseball team.
Before attending Alumni Day on Saturday, he will be at St. James’s Park in the Bronx for three hours starting at 11 a.m., handing out school supplies donated by his foundation. Students must be present to receive a binder filled with supplies.
“I just want to give back,” Martinez said. “I miss New York and I miss my fans. I miss my fan base in Queens. There are so many Dominicans. I wanted to have more of an impact on the community while I was there. … My time seemed so limited, but I still crave hugs and exchanges with the fan base in New York.