Mets finalize $53 million deal with Martinez

Updated: December 15, 2004, 9:08 PM ET
Associated Press

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 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 anonymity.

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."York Mets.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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