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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 19, 2005
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Pedro picks Mets over Red Sox, sides try to close deal
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Look who landed Pedro Martinez. That�s right, the other team in New York.

Martinez closed in on a four-year deal with the Mets, and the Boston Red Sox resigned themselves Monday to losing the three-time Cy Young Award winner.

�He was a great member of the Red Sox team for seven years, and a certain Hall of Famer,� Boston president Larry Lucchino told The Associated Press in an e-mail. �He will be missed, and we are disappointed to have lost him to the Mets and the National League.�

Martinez�s agent, Fernando Cuza, told the Mets he will attempt to work out a deal with them after New York guaranteed a fourth year, a person involved in the talks said on condition of anonymity.

�Nothing has happened yet,� Martinez said from the Dominican Republic on Monday night.

For once, the Mets and new general manager Omar Minaya snatched the spotlight from the star-studded Yankees across town by making the biggest splash at baseball�s winter meetings, which ended Monday with many top players still searching for teams.

There were just five trades and seven free-agent signings finalized during the four-day session, but several clubs struck preliminary agreements with free agents that will be completed later this week.

Richie Sexson and Seattle appeared to be working their way toward a deal, but the first baseman�s agent, Casey Close, said Baltimore was still in the hunt.

�Nothing is conclusive at this moment. We�ll have to see where this thing goes the next 24, 48 hours,� Close said. �It�s all speculative as to what people�s perspectives are.�

The agent for Carlos Delgado, another first baseman, held preliminary talks with the Yankees and was speaking to the Mariners, who told an agent they might try to sign both Sexson and Delgado.

The White Sox traded slugger Carlos Lee to Milwaukee for speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik, reliever Luis Vizcaino and a player to be named. Four free-agent agreements also were announced, topped by catcher Mike Matheny�s $10.5 million, three-year deal with San Francisco.

Right-hander Esteban Yan agreed to a $2.25 million, two-year contract with Anaheim, right-hander Todd Jones finalized a $1.1 million, one-year deal with Florida and outfielder Wil Cordero got a $600,000, one-year contract from the Washington-bound Expos, who also agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds.

In an agreement awaiting a physical, second baseman Jose Hernandez agreed to a $1.8 million, one-year contract with Cleveland. Late Sunday night, Toronto and free-agent third baseman Corey Koskie reached preliminary agreement on a $17 million, three-year contract.

As teams headed home, many top free agents remained on the market, including Carlos Beltran, Adrian Beltre, Magglio Ordonez, Derek Lowe, Eric Milton, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, J.D. Drew, Edgar Renteria and Moises Alou.

Among the deals awaiting completion were Carl Pavano�s four-year contract with the Yankees, a deal worth about $39 million, and David Wells� two-year agreement with Boston.

Minaya expressed confidence about the negotiations with Martinez, but wouldn�t detail the discussions.

ďż˝The good news is that weďż˝re still in dialogue,ďż˝ Minaya said.  ďż˝Every day that goes by and we are having dialogue is a good day.ďż˝

Minaya then returned to New York, and the sides will work by telephone to finalize the contract language. Cuza did not want to comment on the talks.

Martinez helped pitch Boston to its first World Series title since 1918, but Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said he refused to increase the team�s offer in the past two days.

�We wish Pedro nothing but the best going forward both on the field and off the field,� Boston owner John Henry said in an e-mail. �He pitched with every ounce of his being for the Red Sox over the course of 216 games. Some of those performances were among the most memorable in Red Sox history. Who will ever forget the 1999 All-Star game? He has earned everything that he has accomplished, including his World Series ring and his reputation as one of the greatest who ever lived.�

Martinez, 33, must pass a physical before the Mets complete the deal. He would join a rotation that includes two-time Cy Young winner Tom Glavine, Kris Benson, Steve Trachsel and Victor Zambrano.

The Mets have faded badly since losing to the Yankees in the 2000 World Series, finishing last in the NL East in 2002 and 2003, then going 71-91 last season.

New York initially offered Martinez a $37.5 million, three-year contract with a $12.5 million team option for 2008.

Boston�s final proposal was a $40.5 million, three-year deal that contained a club option for 2008, a baseball official said, also on condition of anonymity. The Red Sox thought the Mets� offer was for $56 million over four years, the official said, but a Mets official said that figure was not correct.

An agent who spoke with the Mets said New York�s proposal was worth about $52 million.

�We put our best foot forward and made an offer that makes sense to the club,� Epstein said. �We think it�s a fair and generous offer.�

Martinez�s departure leaves the Red Sox to defend their title with a rotation that currently includes Curt Schilling, Wells, Tim Wakefield and Bronson Arroyo.


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