|Saturday, February 15
Updated: March 13, 12:34 PM ET
Martinez would like to finish career with Red Sox
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pedro Martinez is confident the Boston Red Sox will pick up his $17.5 million option for 2004 but said Saturday that will be his last season with the team if they wait until November to do it.
"You want to take that gamble if you were the owner of this team?'' he said. "I don't think so.''
Martinez made it clear he also wants a contract extension so he can finish his career in Boston and that he has a good relationship with owner John Henry and club officials.
"I know we're going to work it out and I'm not worried about that,'' Martinez said. "They're a group of responsible owners and they know what to do.''
If it doesn't get worked out, Martinez said he will leave the Red Sox.
The team must exercise its option by November or Martinez can become a free agent.
He met Friday with Henry and team president Larry Lucchino away from training camp, said Charles Steinberg, the club's executive vice president.
Martinez's remarks Saturday "were not news'' to Henry and Lucchino, Steinberg said. "They appreciated his kind words. They were already aware of his feelings. They talked to him about them and they share the confidence that we can proceed in harmony.''
Martinez reiterated his stand taken late last season that he wouldn't talk with the team about his contract during the regular season. The Red Sox, though, could exercise their option without further negotiations.
He also said the team should discuss a contract extension with him "because I don't want to go jumping around'' to other clubs.
Martinez participated in Saturday's first spring training workout with other pitchers and catchers and said he felt better than he did last year, when he reported at 196 pounds, five more than his current weight.
"I don't see anything that's going to prevent him from being ready to go Opening Day,'' manager Grady Little said.
A shoulder injury limited Martinez to 18 games in 2001. After a slow start last year -- he allowed eight runs in three-plus innings in a season-opening 12-11 loss to Toronto -- he finished 20-4 and led the majors with a 2.26 ERA.
In five seasons with the Red Sox he is 87-24, he has won two Cy Young Awards and led the AL in ERA and strikeouts three times each.
Martinez earned $14 million last year, gets $15 million this year and will earn $17.5 million if he is with the team in 2004.
Martinez couldn't understand why the Red Sox wouldn't pick up his option during the season.
"I came off a season where I won 20 games,'' he said. "If you look at the market and the way pitching is, it should be a bargain.
"If they don't pick it up now, it means they don't trust how I feel,'' he said. "Would you stay with a woman that tells you she doesn't love you? It makes no sense.''
Martinez stressed several times that he is optimistic the option will be picked up.
"They haven't told me that they're not going to pick it up so don't start making up stuff or make this a rivalry between me and the owners,'' Martinez said. "I'm sure we're going to do whatever it takes to work this thing out.''
Martinez also said he thought the three-team trade that sent Bartolo Colon to the Chicago White Sox involved "a little trick'' between owners George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees and Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox and the Montreal Expos.
Martinez said, "I believe there was something because we offered a better package than the White Sox did, I believe.''
He also said Boston's starting rotation is as good as that of the Yankees, who have seven or eight candidates. New York only can use one starter each day, he said, not seven.
Martinez wasn't happy when closer Ugueth Urbina went to Texas as a free agent, but "Oogie was the one that chose to go over there.''
The Red Sox did not obtain another closer, instead deciding to use relievers according to the game situation. Management hopes that will help bring Boston its first World Series championship since 1918. The Yankees have won 26 titles.
"I would like to finish'' with the Red Sox, Martinez said. "I like the challenge of spending so much time without winning it. I'd like to be part of the first team that's going to win it.''