Pedro Martinez was the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner when he was acquired by the Red Sox in November 1997, with young pitchers Carl Pavano and Tony Armas going to the Montreal Expos.
It was one of the most lopsided deals in Red Sox history … in a good way.
Martinez dominated his new surroundings, winning back-to-back Cy Youngs in 1999 and 2000, leading the AL in ERA four times and in strikeouts three years.
He was runner-up for the Cy Young in 1998 (behind Roger Clemens of the Toronto Blue Jays) and 2002 (training only Barry Zito of the Oakland Athletics), placed third in 2003 and fourth in 2004.
But in 1999 he also finished second to Ivan Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers in the MVP voting and placed fifth in the MVP race in 2000.
His combination of power and control was dominant in an era ruled by the long ball, as he posted 313 strikeouts in 1999 while walking only 37 hitters.
In 2000, Martinez had a 0.737 WHIP and allowed only 5.3 hits per nine innings, while fanning 11.8 per nine. He was a five-time All-Star with the Red Sox and helped them to their first World Series title in 86 years in 2004.
He left after that season to sign as a free agent with the New York Mets in December 2004.
In seven seasons with the Red Sox, Martinez was 117-37 — winning at least 20 games twice — with a 2.52 ERA and 0.978 WHIP, an ERA+ of 190, with 1,683 strikeouts in 1,383.2 innings.
At a time when complete games were becoming very rare, Martinez had 22 with eight shutouts.
In four postseasons with Boston, he was 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.122 WHIP in 79.1 innings, striking out 80 in 11 starts and two relief appearances.
One of those relief outings was epic. Martinez came on to start the fourth inning in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, in a game already tied 8-8 as starters Bret Saberhagen for the Red Sox and Charles Nagy for the Indians were knocked around hard.
Martinez threw six innings of no-hit baseball at Cleveland, walking three and striking out eight, as the Red Sox came from behind to win 12-8, clinching their first postseason series victory since beating the California Angels in the 1986 ALCS.
He originally signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in June 1988 at age 16 and was traded to Montreal in 1994. He also pitched in 2009 with the Philadelphia Phillies before retiring.
He was a first-ballot selection for the Baseball Hall of Fame, earning induction in 2015.