At times, it’s felt like Pedro Baez is the cat with nine lives. Previously, we have said that Baez has become a pitcher who survives and thrives. Currently, many would consider him the arm in the bullpen they have the most confidence in.
At the current time, Baez is on the mend after narrowly avoiding an injury when he took a 103 MPH line drive off his knee against Tampa. This is good news for Los Angeles as the season moves into the summer months.
Now, Jorge Castillo has a story in the Los Angeles Times about how Baez has created that staying power. It’s been as much his attitude as it has been the development of a potent off-speed pitch.
— Pedro Baez Fan Club (@PedroBaezFanClb) May 24, 2019
Castillo captured a rare quote from the man known as ‘La Mula’, and it’s pretty telling of his mindset if you have never had a glimpse.
“In spite of the bad moments that have happened, us, as athletes, we always have those moments,” Baez, 31, said in Spanish in a recent, rare interview. “But, thank God, sometimes those moments help us come out better and more focused on finding success and focusing more on going out there and doing things right.”
That’s encouraging to read from a guy, quite honestly. It speaks of a player who has developed perspective through experience that hasn’t always been easy. While most Dodger fans have already converted to pro-Baez – it’s hard not to be after you read something like that.
Then there’s teammate Ross Stripling, who confirms that Baez goes about his business about how you would imagine it.
“Dude,” Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling said, “he sits down there, he doesn’t say a word and the phone rings and he just takes off his sweater and goes and pitches.”
The remarks about Baez’s ability to handle adversity keep coming. Within the story, bullpen-mate Kenley Jansen talks about both players were coming up as position players. At a crossroads in their careers becoming hurlers, it was Baez’s attitude that couldn’t be shaken.
Finally, manager Dave Roberts says that Baez is one of his most accountable players.
“He’s a workhorse, a super competitor and a guy who really cares,” Roberts said. “I’m very sympathetic toward people who are accountable, and I’m proud of the way he’s handled everything.”
I have been on the Pedro Baez train for a while, courtesy of him showing flashes of being a dominant reliever. Now, I just like the guy as a person in general. He’s one of the best late-inning arms the Dodgers have. Equally important, he’s a solid person with a good head on his shoulders.
Give me that guy with the ball in his hands late every day of the week. And when it doesn’t work out – because that’s baseball – I’ll live with it.