Reed's agent: Mets were 'unprofessional'

Updated: January 26, 2004, 12:27 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Rick Reed is heading to the Pirates, not the Mets, and his agent says Jim Duquette dropped the ball.

Phil Tannenbaum told reporters Friday that the Mets were "extremely unprofessional."

Reed, who has played for both teams previously, wanted to return to New York, Tannenbaum claimed. But he says Duquette, the Mets' general manager, blew the chance to bring back the veteran right-hander.

"I just felt like if the Mets were interested or had some sincerity in Rick, the call should have really come from Jim Duquette," Tannenbaum said. "Mr. Duquette must be awfully busy or I guess he doesn't have a cell phone.

"I'm only sorry I didn't call Mr. [Fred] Wilpon or Jeff [Wilpon] because they would have called me back in a heartbeat," he continued. "I can assure you this will definitely be reflected in the [Mets'] win-loss column this year."

Reed went 6-12 with a 5.08 ERA last season, and would have had to fight for a spot in the Mets' rotation in spring training if he signed with New York. Reed agreed to attend the Pittsburgh Pirates' spring training camp as a non-roster player.

"I'm sorry that Phil's ego was bruised that I didn't return his call but there was no intention of slighting Rick Reed," Duquette told the New York Post. "We made a very sincere offer with the intent of having him come back if he made our club. There was no certainty that he was going to make our club. My understanding was that he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates because it was within four hours' drive of his home. We wish him luck."

Pittsburgh is a four-hour drive from his Huntington, W.Va., hometown.

Duquette added, "I guess Phil's still upset that we didn't sign Lance Johnson to be our No. 1 option in center field," a reference to the fact that the Mets passed up the journeyman outfielder, one of Tannenbaum's clients, a few years back.

Reed established himself as a major league pitcher while pitching for the Mets from 1997 through 2001, winning a career-high 16 games in 1998. He was traded to the Twins during the 2001 season.

He finished last season in the Twins' bullpen after making 21 starts, then became a free agent when Minnesota declined to pick up his $8 million option for 2004. Reed made $8 million last year in the final season of his $21.75 million, three-year contract.

Reed also talked to the Reds about a similar deal because Cincinnati also is within driving distance from Huntington, where he pitched for Marshall University.

Reed is 93-76 with a 4.03 ERA in 273 career appearances and 245 starts with the Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Reds, Mets and Twins.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.