Let the Pedro bidding begin; is change coming to Washington?
The Cubs and Angels are among the handful of teams interested in Pedro Martinez
As of now, Nationals manager Manny Acta still has a job, but it may be short-lived
While the Rangers don't have money to deal, they have a number of prospects
The Pedro Martinez Sweepstakes kicks off in earnest today when he throws for at least four teams: the Cubs, Rays, Angels and Yankees. The workout will take place down in the Dominican, where he's been working out and waiting for the appropriate deal.
As we know by now, he had been hoping to get a pro-rated portion of a $5-million annual salary (the original request was for between "Brad Penny" and "Randy Johnson," meaning between $5 million and $8 million), and while that might be tough, Martinez appears to have a decent chance to get a job. Though no team publicly appeared anxious to sign him, and none of the apparent contenders seem to have an overwhelming need for a starter, folks familiar with the situation say they expect something to happen soon.
Here's my take on which teams are most likely to sign Martinez now:
1. Cubs. Pedro, himself, mentioned the Cubs and Rays as the ones pursuing him, and that jibes with what I'd heard last week, as well. The Cubs' real issue has been a lack of hitting, but perhaps Pedro could provide some sort of spark for one of baseball's most underachieving teams. The ownership situation remains in limbo (more on that below) but GM Jim Hendry has said he didn't think that would be a hindrance in doing deals, and it didn't hinder them through the winter. The National League is probably the better league for Pedro at this point in his career.
2. Angels. They're a late entry in the derby, but they can't be counted out. There may be more concern over Ervin Santana and John Lackey than what's been stated publicly. Pedro's people called over there awhile back, but the interest appeared to be minimal at first. Their presence at the tryout is intriguing. Plus, the Angels definitely fit the bill as contenders -- something Martinez seeks.
3. Dodgers. I always liked the idea of Martinez and the Dodgers reuniting a decade and a half after the Dodgers goofed by trading the skinny reliever for Delino DeShields, who became almost as much of an underachiever as Martinez was an achiever. The Dodgers currently have the best ERA in baseball and don't appear to have a glaring need in their rotation for Martinez. But L.A. did show early interest, and I'd have to think he'd like the idea of going to a team that has a playoff spot already wrapped up. While they aren't big in-season spenders, the Dodgers did save $2.7 million with Manny Ramirez's suspension.
4. Rays. Rays people continue to say their chances to sign Martinez are "slight," but they also don't rule it out entirely. They have been scouting him, and perhaps Pedro would like to stay in Florida (he has a home in South Beach). However, the Rays have no overwhelming need, and, as usual, have very little money to spend. The AL East would be a tough spot for Pedro at this stage of his career.
5. Mets. One Mets executive characterized their chances to sign Martinez as "not likely." While GM Omar Minaya loves Pedro, there isn't even word that they'll be attending today's session.
6. Yankees. They will be in attendance. But there's been little evidence of interest on their part throughout the courting of Martinez. So it appears they are mostly covering their bases.
7. Rest of the field. The Indians, Pirates and Diamondbacks showed varying degrees of interest over the winter
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