A couple of Cubs-related thoughts while watching the Dominican Republic get eliminated by the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic:
First, could Pedro Martinez be a fit for the Cubs?
It looks anything but likely at this point. But the unsigned former superstar, in at least the small sampling from the WBC, looks like he can still pitch and says he'd like to stay in the National League and pitch for a contender.
The Mets say they have no interest in bringing him back, which would seem to make the Dodgers the likeliest team with a fit - except for the Cubs. It shouldn't take a long-term contract or an especially big one, and if he produces well enough to hold down a fifth-starter job, that would be huge depth for the Cubs and put all the Jake Peavy dreams to rest.
On the other hand, Martinez has to want to fit. He told one New York writer he'd rather go fishing on his boat this season than let himself be ``disrespected'' and accept a Tom Glavine-like deal ($1 million base). He also doesn't seem willing to accept time in the bullpen - which could be a necessary option from the Cubs' standpoint.
No telling whether the quick demise of the Dominican from the WBC might soften his stance on some of this stuff with no more audition innings to pitch. And the Cubs like the way their pitching staff is shaping up so far this spring, and they don't have the payroll flexibility to pull the trigger on even a $3-5 million deal without ownership being involved.
The other thought watching the WBC: What good did Carlos Marmol get out of the experience he hemmed and hawed and waffled over for more than a week before pitching for the DR?
The favorite for the Cubs' closer job got to experience the most embarrassing team bounce from this year's tournament and it couldn't have done him any good to be the last guy on the mound, giving up the winning run in the 11th inning of the elimination game.
So far he's proven to be a pretty resilient kid. But this seems to have been the antithesis for him of his All-Star selection last summer - which bolstered his confidence at a time he was struggling and appeared to be doubting himself.
At least the early exit provides him more time with his real team this spring to regroup for the regular season.