The Pedro Effect
When the news first broke out that Pedro Martinez, one of the greatest pitchers in Red Sox history, was coming back to become a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington there was almost a 50/50 split from Red Sox Nation.
Some argued that it was merely a publicity stunt by Larry Lucchino in an attempt to water down the crippling effects Dan Shaughnessy’s tell-all book about Terry Francona’s tenure as Boston’s skipper, where it puts Lucchino and the rest of the Red Sox brass in a very negative light.
Then there were others who were excited to have Pedro back because they felt he could really have an impact on this Red Sox team by working with the current Sox pitching staff and potentially becoming a liaison for Cherington in the Dominican Republic.
As we are a few weeks into Spring Training, Pedro has really taken a strong liking to a handful of the Sox’s younger pitchers, especially Daniel Bard, Rubby De La Rosa, and more importantly Felix Doubront, Boston’s fourth starter.
Pedro is taking a hands on approach with these guys, as clips out of Fort Myers showed him grabbing Bard’s pitching arm and pulling it down, helping him with his mechanics. Pedro has also talked very highly of De La Rosa, a pitching prospect acquired from the Dodgers in the mega-deal that shipped Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez out of town.
“I like to look at every single detail. I will concentrate sometimes on legs, other times on movement, on the head, arm angles, hands. I can pick out everything,” said Martinez in a Boston Globe article, when asked about De La Rosa’s progress and he later went on to say that he is a “very special talent.”
But it will be Felix Doubront whom the Sox would want Pedro to work with the most, and so far in the 2013 Spring Training it looks like he will need it. Doubront came into camp overweight, and has been complaining of a sore arm.
“He so young and so full of talent that sometimes you take for granted the opportunity we’re given, but the same way it comes, the same way it could go. All it takes is a bad injury and you’re out of baseball. And the only thing that prevents injuries is hard work,” said Martinez to Boston.com writer Nick Cafardo, in regards to Doubront’s poor conditioning.
This is where Pedro will be the most important to this franchise. If he is able to get into the heads of the young pitchers, and show them that they need to be accountable for their bodies and actions, then the Sox future will be bright. But if not, we may be looking at another spoiled batch of young talent.
The idea that Pedro could become a liaison to Ben Cherington is not as far-fetched as some may seem. In his home country, Pedro is looked at as an inspiration for aspiring ballplayers, so who better to lure potential top prospects into Boston than him. Pedro could share stories with them and tell them all the amazing aspects of playing in Boston and these players would listen to Pedro because he was one of them earlier in his life.
There is no doubt that Pedro is one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. Dominating in an era that has been filled with hall of fame-caliber players using PED’s, Pedro’s 5’11”, 170-pound mystique continues to grow. If he was that good in an era littered with guys on the juice, then imagine how much better he could have been if all things were even.
Whatever the case, that phase of Pedro’s life is over. And now, after nine years since he pitched in a Sox uniform, Pedro returns to help the future of the Red Sox. Whether that’s good or bad remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, “daddy” is finally home.