NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine looked at his son, Peyton, and knew
he had made the right decision for himself and his family.
"I just told my 7-year-old five minutes ago that we were going
back to New York, and he jumped out of his seat with excitement,"
the pitcher said. "They're excited about it, and that makes me
excited about it."
Glavine decided to stay with the Mets, agreeing Friday to a
$10.5 million, one-year contract and opting against a possible
return to the Atlanta Braves. Now the Mets can relax as they talk
to free-agent ace Barry Zito and discuss possible trades this
"With Tommy now on board, I think we still will look at ways to
improve the starting rotation," general manager Omar Minaya said.
Ten wins shy of 300 after going 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA this year,
Glavine helped the Mets win their first division title since 1988.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner then went 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA
in three postseason starts as New York advanced to Game 7 of the NL
championship series before losing to St. Louis.
Glavine lives in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, and his
family commuted to New York on weekends during the school year to
join him. He thought long about whether he wanted to return to the
Braves, his team from 1987-2002, or stay with the Mets, who signed
him before the 2003 season. He told the Mets he would make his
decision before the winter meetings, which begin Monday in Florida.
"I wrestled with it. I think that everybody who knows me knows
how important my family is to me and knows how much strain it is on
my family for me to be in New York," he said. "After four years,
it's grown on me. I like the city. I like the fans. I love the
organization. They treated me with the utmost respect and that pull
to come back to New York was a very strong pull. In the end, it's
where we felt like we needed to be, and where we wanted to be."
Glavine's deal calls for a $7.5 million salary next year and
contains a $9 million player option for 2008 that would become
guaranteed if he pitches 160 innings next season, when he will be
41. 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 if it becomes
guaranteed. He also gets a full no-trade clause.
He spoke with Braves manager Bobby Cox several times and with
Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz once, but his old team
never made an offer. Glavine and his wife made the decision to
return to the Mets on Wednesday, then waited two days to make sure
they were comfortable with it.
"I'm sure at some point in time they would have made me an
offer. What that offer would have been, who knows?" Glavine said.
"I'm not going to sit here and say that if the Braves had come to
me with an offer that was close to where we are with the Mets, that
that wouldn't have made my decision tough. Of course it would have.
There are certainly advantages to me for my family to be home here
in Atlanta. But in the end, that didn't happen. It didn't get to
Schuerholz did not respond to several messages seeking comment
For a time after the Mets were eliminated, Glavine thought
returning to the Braves might be his preference.
"When I got home and I'm in my own house and I'm in the routine
and I'm going to my little guy's Little League games and going to
my daughter's softball games and going to the hockey games that my
kids are playing on and getting out there coaching my 12-year-old's
team, it's real easy to be like: Boy, life is so much easier with
me here and I get to do all this stuff," Glavine said. "But in
the end, it's generally not as glamorous as you portray it to be.
You're still on the road a lot. You're still traveling a lot.
You're still at the ballpark a lot."
He credited Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and Minaya
for giving him time to make his decision.
"We very much wanted Tom back to win his 300th game here,"
Glavine and 41-year-old Orlando Hernandez anchor the Mets'
rotation, with Pedro Martinez sidelined for at least the first half
of the season following rotator cuff surgery. Oliver Perez,
John Maine, Brian Bannister, Mike Pelfrey and Dave Williams also could
compete for spots.
"You have two veteran guys you know you can go to," Minaya
said. "Then we can build around those guys."