Pedro confirms deal; Mets not talking

Updated: December 15, 2004, 1:14 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- Pedro Martinez confirmed Tuesday that he has agreed to join the New York Mets.

Pedro Martinez
Starting Pitcher
Boston Red Sox
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM W L Sv K ERA
33 16 9 0 227 3.90

"I only hope to honor my contract and to fulfill the expectations," Martinez said on television in the Dominican Republic. "We got what we wanted. The team and I are happy with everything."

Martinez's agent, Fernando Cuza, told the Mets on Monday that he would attempt to work out a deal with them after New York guaranteed a fourth year, a person involved in the talks said on condition of anonymity.

The deal for the pitcher who helped Boston win the World Series will be worth at least $50 million.

"The bigger the contract, the bigger the responsibility," Martinez said.

My heart will always be with the Boston fans. I hope that everyone who truly loves me will still support me now that I won't be with the Red Sox.
Pedro Martinez

Martinez said the sides still must determine the distribution of the money, and that he needs to pass a physical.

New York has not announced the deal, choosing to wait until an agreement is signed and the physical is passed.

The New York Times reported on its Web site that Martinez is expected to take a physical examination on Wednesday. If he passes, he is expected to be introduced at a Thursday news conference at Shea Stadium and then return to his native Dominican Republic on Friday for a news conference there, the Times reported.

Martinez had spent the past seven seasons with the Red Sox.

"My heart will always be with the Boston fans. I hope that everyone who truly loves me will still support me now that I won't be with the Red Sox," the three-time Cy Young winner said.

For once, the Mets and new general manager Omar Minaya snatched the spotlight from the star-studded Yankees across town by making the biggest splash at baseball's winter meetings, which ended Monday with many top players still searching for teams.

Minaya expressed confidence about the negotiations with Martinez, but wouldn't detail the discussions.

"The good news is that we're still in dialogue," Minaya said. "Every day that goes by and we are having dialogue is a good day."

Minaya then returned to New York, and the sides will work by telephone to finalize the contract language. Cuza did not want to comment on the talks.

Martinez helped pitch Boston to its first World Series title since 1918, but Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said he refused to increase the team's offer in the past two days.

"We wish Pedro nothing but the best going forward both on the field and off the field," Boston owner John Henry said in an e-mail. "He pitched with every ounce of his being for the Red Sox over the course of 216 games. Some of those performances were among the most memorable in Red Sox history. Who will ever forget the 1999 All-Star game? He has earned everything that he has accomplished, including his World Series ring and his reputation as one of the greatest who ever lived."

Martinez, 33, would join a rotation that includes two-time Cy Young winner Tom Glavine, Kris Benson, Steve Trachsel and Victor Zambrano. The Mets lost starter Al Leiter to Florida.

Boston's final proposal was a $40.5 million, three-year deal that contained a club option for 2008, a baseball official said, also on condition of anonymity. The Red Sox thought the Mets' offer was for $56 million over four years, the official said, but a Mets official said that figure was not correct.

"We put our best foot forward and made an offer that makes sense to the club," Epstein said. "We think it's a fair and generous offer."

Martinez's departure leaves the Red Sox to defend their title with a rotation that currently includes Curt Schilling, Wells, Tim Wakefield and Bronson Arroyo. Schilling said Tuesday his injured foot will not be ready for him to pitch by opening day.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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