Glavine talks of 300th win, retiring at end of season
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tom Glavine is inching closer to 300 wins -- and retirement.
Needing 10 victories to reach the milestone, the New York Mets' ace sounds as though he plans to call it quits after this season.
"I don't want to sit here and say definitively," Glavine said Friday, when Mets pitchers and catchers took their physicals. "If I don't win 300 games for some reason, I will play -- unless my arm blows out and that's the end of it."
Only twice in 19 full major league seasons has Glavine failed to win at least 10 games (1988 and 2003).
The left-hander, who will turn 41 next month, was 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA in 198 innings last year. Then he went 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in three playoff starts as the Mets advanced to Game 7 of the NL championship series before losing to St. Louis.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner became a free agent in the offseason but returned to New York, agreeing to a $10.5 million, one-year contract and opting against a possible return to the Atlanta Braves.
His deal contains a $9 million player option for 2008 that would become guaranteed if he pitches 160 innings this season. The price of the option would increase by $1 million for each additional 10 innings up to a maximum price of $13 million. If the option isn't exercised, he gets a $3 million buyout.
Glavine has the right to decline the option even if it becomes guaranteed, and he's already thinking about what this season could mean.
"There's a little bit in the back of my mind that this might be the last one," he said.
New York manager Willie Randolph said Glavine and Orlando Hernandez are the only two pitchers with guaranteed spots in the rotation entering spring training. The Mets have several young pitchers vying for jobs, though Randolph said the playoff experience John Maine and Oliver Perez gained last season would not necessarily ensure them roles.
"I've always looked at it this way -- spring training is competition for everyone," Randolph said. "I don't believe, unless you're a Glavine or El Duque, saying that you have a spot. Everyone else needs to go out and compete."
Expectations are high for the Mets after they posted the best record in the NL last year and came within one win of the World Series. But those expectations don't faze Randolph.
"We're here to win," he said. "Obviously, when I say win, we want to get into the playoffs. After that, anyone can win. I'm not going to say we're going to win a world championship, that's ridiculous.
"I want these players, every year we come to spring training, to feel like, yes, we should be in the playoffs, in the hunt for a world championship."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press