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Tuesday, February 18
Updated: March 13, 1:03 PM ET
 
Second baseman: 'I want to be a Met until I retire'

Associated Press

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar wasn't offered a contract extension by the New York Mets, causing him to wonder what his future with the team will be beyond this season.

Roberto Alomar
Second baseman
New York Mets
Profile
2002 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
149 11 53 73 16 .266

Alomar, in the final year of his contract, arrived at camp Monday and said he was informed last week that he will not receive the extension that he and his agent, Jaime Torres, asked for, according to several newspaper reports Tuesday.

"Maybe I felt upset about it, because I wanted to be a New York Met," Alomar said. "I'm not offended that they didn't offer me a contract. Maybe I'm a little sad that I might not be here after next year."

Alomar also told The New York Times, Daily News, New York Post and Newsday that his desire is to finish his playing career in New York.

"I want to be a Met until I retire," Alomar said. "But at the same time, you don't know what's going to happen. I have one more year to go, and I feel comfortable on the team."

In fact, general manager Steve Phillips said that the Mets won't talk extensions with any of the players in the final year of their contracts.

"We haven't had a lot of flexibility headed into the last couple of offseasons," Phillips said. "I think our preference is to evaluate how everything goes and be able to make choices."

Besides Alomar, Jeromy Burnitz, Pedro Astacio, Armando Benitez, Rey Sanchez and Tsuyoshi Shinjo are in the final year of their contracts.

Alomar, who will make $8 million this year, struggled last season, hitting only .266 for a team that finished last in the NL East and he wanted to go into camp without any issues.

"I just don't like to go through the year with distractions," Alomar said. "It's not a good feeling sometimes. You don't want to get other players involved with that. It's about respect for the players."

Phillips understands the risk of waiting until the end of the season to make decisions about re-signing the players.

"I think we feel like it's worth those risks right now to have that flexibility headed into next year, in what could be a pretty interesting free-agent year," Phillips said.

Miguel Tejada, Andy Pettitte and Bartolo Colon are all in the final year of their contracts.

While Alomar arrived too late to take part in Monday's workout, Burnitz went right to work. The right fielder said contract negotiations are far from his mind.

"There's no reason for me to be even thinking about that, I've got seven months here to play baseball and then, for the first time in my career, be able to have those kind of choices," Burnitz said.

Those choices include possibly retiring, he said.

"I've thought about it since the day I started," Burnitz said. "It's one of those things you think about, it doesn't mean it's something that's prominent."

Before coming to the Mets last season, Burnitz hit more than 25 homes runs at Milwaukee for five consecutive seasons. Last year he hit just 19 homers and batted only .215.




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