What I’m Reading

• Pedro Martinez is still out there. He’s available. He even threw a side session at Fenway on Opening Day. What’s in store for his future, though?

• I prefer to compare him to Griffey, but D-Lowe sees more A-Rod in Jason Heyward. Either way, pretty lofty expectations we’re setting for Jason Heyward.

• Kansas City’s Alex Gordon will begin his rehab assignment tomorrow. Which means that we’re right around the corner from yet another disappointing season from Alex Gordon.

• Scott Kazmir should be back in the Angels rotation by April 15. Luckily for him, if he screws up, America won’t care because its mind will be on other things.

What I Think About It

Pedro

• Alright, let’s break down Pedro’s pitch.

It was a little high and tight and didn’t quite seem to have the same velocity we’re used to from the feisty Dominican. I heard conflicting reports, but the general consensus seems to be that it was somewhere in the 48 to 54 MPH zone.

Not exactly going to cut it if Martinez plans to make his triumphant return.

Regardless of his floppy Opening Day pitch, Pedro proved last season in Philadelphia that he can still be an effective member of a rotation, posting his best numbers since his first season as a Met, in a limited sample.

There is still an excessive amount of speculation as to where he’ll end up this season, but the feeling that I’m getting is that he will play again and won’t retire until at least the end of the season.

I do think that part of his appearance at Fenway on Opening Day was a ploy to see what kind of reaction he would get from the Boston fans. Since it was clearly positive, the Sox have to be on a list of about 4 or 5 teams now that would have serious interest in acquiring the righty.

They don’t need him right now, but he likely wouldn’t be ready to return for a few more months, anyway. There may come a time when things start to break down for Boston over the summer and they’re going to have to call him up.

And he’ll answer.

Heyward

• Coming up with Seattle before being dealt to Boston in what I like to call, “The Greatest Deal of All Time”*, Derek Lowe obviously got to see both A-Rod and Griffey first hand.

He was lucky enough to see a young Rodriguez shine and is now looking at the second-coming of one of the aforementioned superstars in Atlanta.

A-Rod’s 1996 numbers: .358 with 54 doubles, 36 homers and 123 RBIs. He even finished second in MVP voting. His age? Twenty-years old. Scary.

Am I ready to state that Heyward will also put up those numbers, in a far less offensive age of baseball at the same age Rodriguez did it?

No, of course not.

But I am ready to claim that he’s going to be pretty freakin’ phenomenal, as if we didn’t already know that, especially after he cemented his legend status by hammering the ball over the fence in his first ML at bat.

*In 1997, the Red Sox traded mercurial reliever/closer Heathcliff Slocumb to the Mariners for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Enough said.

Gordon

• Everything about Alex Gordon heading into his major league career indicated that he’d be the savior of the franchise, the proverbial “Next George Brett”.

Second overall selection in the draft, tore up the minors, played for Team USA, the kid had it all.

But an assortment of struggles has proceeded to roadblock his career.

The first hindrance, obviously, is that he is a member of the Kansas City Royals.

But fielding issues, lack of plate discipline, and a variety of injuries, including a ground ball to the face (ouch) have  slowed his development into the superstar he was supposed to become.

Anyway, if he doesn’t produce this season, it is unlikely that the Royals will waste more time coddling him along as they patiently wait for him to be the Messiah.

His deal will be up at the end of 2010, and other teams are going to look at him as nothing more than a bust that will be worth a minor-league deal at best.

He’s still only 26, but Alex Gordon’s time is running out.

Kazmir

• Speaking of highly touted prospects that haven’t produced to their expectations, Scott Kazmir will be back in the Angels rotation relatively soon.

Now, he clearly isn’t as big of a letdown as Gordon is, but Kazmir somewhat shockingly has had what can be labeled as just an “average” career.

His win/loss record is 57-46, with a pedestrian ERA of 3.83.

Acceptable by today’s standards and definitely not terrible, especially considering his first three plus years were with the formerly sorry Devil Rays.

But not ace-worthy.

A waiver-deadline trade to the Angels last season seemed to light a fire underneath Kazmir, however, as he went 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA and a decent 2.60 K to BB ratio in six starts.

The pressure he experienced in Tampa Bay as the go-to ace of a poor staff will no longer be an issue for Scottie K, as he’ll be towards the back end of a good rotation in sunny California in a stadium that doesn’t cause serotonin levels to drop.

PD

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