Agent says Martinez will be back, hopes to stay with Mariners

Updated: November 4, 2003, 7:59 PM ET

SEATTLE -- Edgar Martinez still won't talk retirement.

Martinez, who turns 41 in January, agreed Tuesday to a $3 million, one-year contract with the Seattle Mariners, a deal that allows him to earn an additional $4 million based on plate appearances.

It's unclear if Martinez's 18th major league season will be the last for the designated hitter.

"I'm not going to talk about that," he said, laughing. "This last year, we've had a lot to say about that. It's something I'm going to try to avoid this year. I'm going to play, play to help the team win and have some fun."

The two-time AL batting champion had a $4 million base salary this year and earned $3.5 million in performance bonuses. He faced a Sunday deadline to file for free agency.

But Martinez wants to finish his career with the Mariners, the only organization he's played for.

"I'm very glad everything worked out and I'm coming back for another year," he said. "I think if we didn't reach an agreement, the chances that I'd stay home were a lot greater than I'd play for another team."

Martinez has several franchise records, including career batting average (.315), games (1,914), hits (2,119), extra-base hits (803), doubles (491), RBIss (1,198), walks (1,225) and runs (1,174).

He was selected to his seventh AL All-Star team last season and won his fourth Silver Slugger award after hitting .294 with 24 homers, 98 RBIss and 25 doubles in 145 games.

Martinez feels healthy enough to keep going. He started working out one week after the Mariners finished with 93 wins, missing the playoffs for the second straight year.

"I feel I'm in good shape and ready to go again. I'm very excited," he said.

Assistant general manager Lee Pelekoudas, who negotiated the deal, said the interest in having Martinez back was mutual. Age was a concern, but the Mariners still believe in the venerable slugger.

"Number one was performance," Pelekoudas said. "He still contributes on the field and in the clubhouse. He has the respect of not only the Latin players but all the players on our club and throughout baseball."

Martinez played the closing months last season with a broken big toe on his left foot. Though he hobbled down the base paths, his on-base percentage of .406 ranked fourth in the AL.

With Gary Payton traded out of town by the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics last spring, there's no other athlete with a popularity or presence in Seattle as large as Martinez, one more reason the Mariners wanted him back.

"He's up there with the Kirby Pucketts, Tony Gwynns and the like," Pelekoudas said.

Martinez said another factor in his decision was watching the playoffs on television instead of suiting up. He believes the organization is committed to making another run at the postseason.

He described his unfulfilled World Series ambitions and recalled the frenzy from 1995, when his two-RBIs double in the 11th inning of Game 5 eliminated the Yankees in the ALDS at the Kingdome.

"I want to have a taste of that again," Martinez said.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index