NEW YORK -- Pedro Martinez, welcome to New York.
Martinez passed his physical Wednesday, and the Mets finalized
their $53 million, four-year contract with the pitcher they hope
will take them to the postseason.
The Mets scheduled a news conference for Shea Stadium on
Thursday at 11 a.m. to introduce Martinez, who turned down a $40.5 million,
three-year offer from the Boston Red Sox and told his agent Monday
to work out a deal with New York.
The total guaranteed value of his contract was obtained by The
Associated Press from a baseball official who spoke on condition of
Martinez, a 33-year-old right-hander, has had shoulder problems
at times. He had a physical in New York and passed it, Mets
spokesman Jay Horwitz said.
Earlier at a children's holiday benefit at Shea Stadium, Mets
general manager Omar Minaya avoided questions about the agreement.
Dressed in a red turtleneck shirt with a Mets' blue and orange
Santa hat in his hand, he said the team generally asks all players
with a history of injury to have an MRI exam, saying an exception
would be "pretty rare."
New Mets manager Willie Randolph played with Martinez's older
brother, Ramon, with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Randolph remembered
Pedro as a young kid coming up in the Los Angeles organization.
During parts of his seven seasons in Boston, Martinez often was
allowed to arrive at the ballpark later than other players and to
take extended vacations during the All-Star break. Randolph plans
to speak with Martinez about rules.
"You don't have a lot of rules, but there are certain things
that everyone has to abide by," Randolph said. "You can't have a
different set of rules for different people."
Martinez went 16-9 with a career-high 3.90 ERA last year, when
the Red Sox won their first World Series title since 1918, and was
117-37 during seven seasons with Boston.
Minaya said the Mets next will try to add offense, focusing on
first base and right field, as they try to reach the playoffs for
the first time since losing the 2000 World Series to the Yankees.
Mike Cameron, dressed as Santa Claus as he gave out Christmas
presents to children, was at first surprised about Martinez's
decision to sign with the Mets.
"I don't know the situation, but when it's all said and done,
Pedro is a fierce competitor," Cameron said. "The guy's been a
winner and he's been a great adversary. He'd be a great addition to
the New York Mets."