He's 36. He's brittle, pitching in just five games last season. And he has made 30 or more starts only three times in his past nine seasons. But when healthy, he can dominate, especially in a pitchers' park such as Shea Stadium.
If Pedro is Pedro, the Mets will cruise into the National League playoffs as the favorites behind the 1-2 punch of newly acquired ace Johan Santana and Martinez. But if Pedro can't sustain his health, the Mets come back to the rest of the pack.
Here's betting Pedro bounces back with 15 wins after combining for just 12 the past two years.
MANAGER: Lou Piniella, second season
PAYROLL: $115 million
X-FACTOR: Will Kerry Wood make a successful transition to closer?
BEST CASE: Kosuke Fukudome approaches an All-Star level in his first year over from Japan. ... Geovany Soto continues hitting like a madman while handling the pitching staff well. ... They reach the postseason in consecutive years for the first time since 1906-1908, which also happens to mark their last World Series title.
WORST CASE: Center field remains an offensive void. ... Ryan Dempster struggles in his conversion back to starting full time for the first time since 2003. ... A century's worth of negative history can't be stopped with wishful thinking and pricey additions.
MANAGER: Ned Yost, sixth season
PAYROLL: $82 million
X-FACTOR: CF Mike Cameron is appealing his 25-game suspension, but even with that absence his defensive impact should be substantial.
BEST CASE: Prince Fielder makes it 50 homers in back-to-back seasons. ... The defensive puzzle clicks into place with Ryan Braun moving to left and Bill Hall taking his place at third. ... This time they hold things together and end a 26-year playoff drought.
WORST CASE: Eric Gagne's troubles in Boston carry over. ... Ben Sheets breaks down again and fails to reach the 25-start mark for the fourth year in a row, a period that coincides with the start of his $38.5 million contract. ... Jason Kendall, a gamer's gamer, is no longer first-string quality.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
MANAGER: Tony La Russa, 13th season
PAYROLL: $102 million
X-FACTOR: Right-hander Matt Clement is the latest reclamation project under pitching coach Dave Duncan.
BEST CASE: Jason Isringhausen locks down 32 or more games for the eighth time in the past nine years. ... Troy Glaus stays healthy now that he's off Toronto's FieldTurf and hits 40 homers. ... Kyle Lohse gives a highly motivated performance after he was left out in the free-agent cold.
WORST CASE: Albert Pujols' troublesome throwing elbow lands him on the disabled list for any significant period. ... The rotation after Adam Wainwright is as poor as most expect it to be. ... A proud franchise has fallen and can't get up.
MANAGER: Cecil Cooper, first season
PAYROLL: $95 million
X-FACTOR: Michael Bourn is a speedster who can cover plenty of ground in the field, but scouts have serious doubts about his bat.
BEST CASE: Jose Valverde brings his fist-pumping, game-ending mojo with him from Arizona. ... The 3-4-5 hitters prove as potent as their histories suggest. ... J.R. Towles eases into the starting catching role without incident as Brad Ausmus mentors him as a backup.
WORST CASE: Miguel Tejada, who drove in 150 runs in 2004, fails to exceed 100 RBIs for the fourth consecutive year. ... Kaz Matsui comes back to earth now that he's out of Denver's altitude. ... The starting pitching after Roy Oswalt is mediocre.
MANAGER: Dusty Baker, first season
PAYROLL: $70 million
X-FACTOR: Rookie outfielder Jay Bruce is rated the top prospect in the minors and isn't far away.
BEST CASE: Johnny Cueto and fellow kid pitcher Homer Bailey emerge to beef up a weak rotation. ... Ken Griffey Jr., seven homers from 600, stays healthy enough to exceed 420 at-bats for the fourth year in a row. ... They take advantage of a weak division to jump back into contention behind some youthful enthusiasm.
WORST CASE: The rotation is as porous as it appears after the top two spots. ... Spending $46 million on a closer (Francisco Cordero) wasn't the smartest thing with so many other needs. ... Baker's first-year mojo from San Francisco and Chicago can't be replicated.
MANAGER: John Russell, first season
PAYROLL: $45 million
X-FACTOR: Was last year an aberration for Jason Bay, who saw his slugging percentage drop by 114 points?
BEST CASE: Freddy Sanchez, fresh off signing a multiyear extension, bids for his second batting crown in three years. ... The young starters bring their performance in line with their potential. ... . The unheralded Matt Capps continues to develop into one of the league's best young closers.
WORST CASE: Adam LaRoche gets off to another horrible start and the offense struggles. ... Their results aren't that different under new management than they were under the previous regime. ... They string together a 16th straight losing season since Barry Bonds' departure.