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Pedro negotiations

Postby JRM4833 » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:31 pm

I didn't see this article posted in the Pedro to the Mets thread so I thought I'd post it. It's a bit disappointing to see, but I guess it's business. Pretty crazy stuff here though.

Greener Pasture or Flushing Meadow?

By Jayson Stark
ESPN.com

"They're going to have their chances to get me back in that uniform. If they don't get me, it's probably because they didn't try hard enough."

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Oh, they tried. The Red Sox tried harder to "get" Pedro Martinez than many people in their organization wanted to try. They tried harder than Pedro will ever acknowledge they tried.

But hard as they tried, Martinez will never throw another pitch in that Red Sox uniform. We know that now.

We know because on Monday, he said yes (at least tentatively) to the New York Mets, to an offer of $50 million over four years that is as close to a definition of insanity in baseball as we have witnessed since -- what? -- the Mike Hampton contract?

The Red Sox were never going to guarantee this man four years. They weren't particularly excited about guaranteeing him three years.

They know -- everybody knows -- Martinez has a tear in his labrum that's practically as wide as the San Andreas Fault. One informed estimate put that tear as 90 percent full.

So there is a stupendous chance that one of these days, Pedro will go from being Omar Minaya's most famous acquisition straight to being the Mets' next Mo Vaughn.

Minus the insurance, that is.

We surveyed a half-dozen baseball men Monday, after word of Martinez's stunning I Love New York tune began to leak around the winter meetings. The question we asked was this:

What are the chances of Martinez making it through four healthy seasons as a Met -- no muss, no fuss, no trips to the DL?

And the unanimous answer won't surprise you: Zero. None. Nada.

Pedro's clock is ticking. And the always-wary city of New York will be watching.

We wish him the best, because it has always been a blast watching him perform his inimitable magical mystery tour on every mound in America. But the way he worked these negotiations, the way he misled the Red Sox on his way to exotic Flushing Meadow, will not go down as his finest hour.

The complete details of this negotiation may never become clear. But this is how this deal went down, from what we know now:

On Saturday night, the Red Sox were just about 100 percent sure he was coming back. He had asked them to guarantee three years. So grudgingly, they guaranteed three years and $38 million.

He had asked them for perks and planes and privileges that Bronson Arroyo will never even envision, let alone ask for. But grudgingly, the Red Sox gave him virtually all that, too.

That was supposed to be that. Instead, Pedro did nothing more but use that astounding offer to squeeze more out of the Mets.

His agent, Fernando Cuza, met with the Mets on Sunday. He laid out what the Red Sox had promised Martinez. He asked the Mets if they were willing to guarantee a fourth year.

Mets GM Omar Minaya mulled it over for a while. Then, on a Sunday night that changed everything, Minaya agreed to guarantee four years, about $50 million.

Incredibly, Pedro still didn't say yes.

Standard negotiating practice these days, according to two longtime baseball negotiators, is never to offer a deal-sealer like that fourth year without explicitly saying, "I'm only offering this if it means this deal is done."

But it appears Minaya didn't attach that stipulation -- because after that, according to sources who had spoken with the Red Sox, Cuza went back to the Boston delegation one more time.

He said Pedro was hurt and angry. Why would one team be willing to give him four years but the Red Sox wouldn't? Why wouldn't the Red Sox show him the respect he had earned after all these years?

The Red Sox delegation didn't need to listen long. They had heard enough. They had done enough. They had done all they were going to do. So if Pedro could get all that from the Mets, he should probably go get it before the Mets changed their mind.

And that was how it ended. Seven of the greatest seasons in Red Sox history.

More than 200 trips to the mound. An astounding 117 wins -- vs. only 37 losses. Nearly 1,700 strikeouts in 1,383 2/3 innings. And no number that can measure the charisma, the genius, the sheer artistry of one of the great pitchers of his time. Or any time.

The Red Sox won't be the same without him. There will be a little less buzz, a little less electric current surging through those Fenway nights, a little less reason to blow up an evening's plans to make sure you made it to the TV room for Pedro's starts.

But it's a funny thing. As much as the Red Sox will miss all that, they won't miss the countless days he showed up late, the obligations he dodged, the special treatment he demanded.

If he can get away with that in the city of New York -- where he has hardly been everyone's favorite baseball visitor, where they have reaped none of the joy he has spread over these last seven years -- more power to him.

But we are trying to imagine the back page of the Post or the News after he opted not to show up for Game 6 of an apocalyptic League Championship Series, as he did this past October. The headlines might not fit on the page.

In the end, he needed more rest and nonstop maintenance. He was still fun when he took the ball, or when he led those cheers from the dugout. But one baseball man who knows the Red Sox well predicted there would be no clubhouse uproar over this. Not a peep.

"You'll be amazed how little you'll hear those players complain," he said. "I bet you'll never hear a word -- no matter how many games he wins."

The Mets get a great pitcher -- on some nights, anyway -- and a great attraction for their new TV network. But don't ask for 120 pitches. Don't ask for nine innings. Don't ask for any emergency starts on short rest. And even regular rest may stop being quite enough.

What the Red Sox get, mostly, is a huge challenge. They were sure they had Pedro. Then they didn't. They were sure they had Carl Pavano. Then he U-turned toward the Bronx to make his mother and father -- longtime Yankees fans -- happy.

So now, instead of those two, they have David Wells, who turns 42 next May, and a giant hole in the rotation that Pedro was supposed to fill.

They can use some of Pedro's money on Edgar Renteria, a tremendous player and more cost-effective purchase. But it appears they will take their time trying to find that last starter. Maybe Odalis Perez. Maybe Tim Hudson. Maybe some other creative Theo Epstein acquisition.

They will still be good. They will still be must-see New England TV. They will still get to raise that World Series banner on Opening Day.

But everything that comes after this will be filed under Life Without Pedro. He made their world more interesting every moment he was around. But he might very well have made their life a lot more peaceful just by deciding he had hung around long enough.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.


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Postby Amazinz » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:38 pm

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Postby Cornbread Maxwell » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:43 pm

JRM - have you been looking for a new AV yet?
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Postby trevisc » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:45 pm

man..he speaks the truth. I'm sure Boston will miss him but don't let the door hit you on the way out!
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Postby JRM4833 » Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:49 pm



I didn't see the article in there and didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle. Some really amazing stuff in there. He comes across as a spoiled brat. But I'll still miss him. He did some great things for the Sox.

Cornbread, ouch. I hadn't even had time to think about that. Guess there's no time like the present to start the hunt though.
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Postby lesgrant » Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:09 pm

I read that article with a grain of salt this AM.

1.Wheeling and double dealing occurs with almost every major transaction in every sport.

2.The details mentioned can only, without speculation, have come from someone who was involved in the deal on both sides of the fence. Given that the deal is not complete and that it paints Martinez as an a-hole, I doubt it came from the Martinez camp or the Mets. This is standard Red Sox propaganda. Different management, same old tricks employed to justify allowing an icon to walk.

3.The credibility takes a major hit at “One informed estimate puts that tear at 90 percent full.” Given that Pedro has only had an MRI on the shoulder (which wouldn’t reveal such a tear), there can be no such “informed” source.

This article is all about the Red Sox justifying to RSN bailing on negotiations. While negging 4 years shouldn’t require that much justification, the huge hole it leaves behind will. Renteria is no sure thing and Perez and Hudson will have serious suitors as well.

The Pedro deal was a risk Minaya had to take. I personally think that this deal is more about branding the Mets within the Dominican Republic. Minaya, the first Dominican GM, is also reaching out for Manny and Sosa as well. These icons not only have the ability to sell tickets in NYC, but will also attract young talent from the Dominican Republic. As a Yankee fan I have seen first hand what a strong brand (the only brand in baseball) can do. There will be many players like Matsui or Johnson who will say ‘I only want to be a Yankee.’ simply because the Yanks are the most identifiable team. Hopefully, for the Mets, many Dominicans will say the same about their organization.

I think this article and much of the current analysis of this deal strongly discounts the Dominican connection. It is very significant that Minaya only had to walk a couple of blocks from his house to Pedro’s house in the DR to have a discussion, in Spanish, about Pedro’s future. If you want to talk about respect, envision the first Dominican GM extending his hand to a national hero, giving Pedro what he asked for, and saying to the effect, ‘Let’s make history.’

The Red Sox never had a chance.
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Postby Mookie4ever » Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:20 pm

JRM4833 wrote:Cornbread, ouch. I hadn't even had time to think about that. Guess there's no time like the present to start the hunt though.


How about this?

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Postby JRM4833 » Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:36 pm

lesgrant wrote:I read that article with a grain of salt this AM.

1.Wheeling and double dealing occurs with almost every major transaction in every sport.


If true, however, this isn't your average wheeling and double dealing.

lesgrant wrote:2.The details mentioned can only, without speculation, have come from someone who was involved in the deal on both sides of the fence. Given that the deal is not complete and that it paints Martinez as an a-hole, I doubt it came from the Martinez camp or the Mets. This is standard Red Sox propaganda. Different management, same old tricks employed to justify allowing an icon to walk.


The source is not necessarily more important than the substance if it is in fact true. Jayson Stark has some credibility in my book. I don't see it as same old tricks. They made the right move.

lesgrant wrote:3.The credibility takes a major hit at “One informed estimate puts that tear at 90 percent full.” Given that Pedro has only had an MRI on the shoulder (which wouldn’t reveal such a tear), there can be no such “informed” source.


I don't understand why you don't think someone could be informed of his shoulder situation. Most in the Red Sox organization know of Pedro's shoulder problem. And they know more than the general public. I don't necessarily believe it, but it wouldn't surprise me if he had more shoulder problems than are being let on. What do you think about the rumor that he has refused an MRI from the Mets as part of his physical?

lesgrant wrote:This article is all about the Red Sox justifying to RSN bailing on negotiations. While negging 4 years shouldn’t require that much justification, the huge hole it leaves behind will. Renteria is no sure thing and Perez and Hudson will have serious suitors as well.


The Red Sox are not hiding behind leaks, etc.. They have been up front about what happened:

"His representatives led us to believe it (the Red Sox final offer to Pedro) was acceptable. It was not." -- Larry Lucchino in phone conversation with CBS4's Bob Lobel.

If you say something, you should stick by your word, player or management. But I have no doubt Theo will make the right moves. The guy has earned my respect.

lesgrant wrote:The Pedro deal was a risk Minaya had to take. I personally think that this deal is more about branding the Mets within the Dominican Republic. Minaya, the first Dominican GM, is also reaching out for Manny and Sosa as well. These icons not only have the ability to sell tickets in NYC, but will also attract young talent from the Dominican Republic. As a Yankee fan I have seen first hand what a strong brand (the only brand in baseball) can do. There will be many players like Matsui or Johnson who will say ‘I only want to be a Yankee.’ simply because the Yanks are the most identifiable team. Hopefully, for the Mets, many Dominicans will say the same about their organization.

I think this article and much of the current analysis of this deal strongly discounts the Dominican connection. It is very significant that Minaya only had to walk a couple of blocks from his house to Pedro’s house in the DR to have a discussion, in Spanish, about Pedro’s future. If you want to talk about respect, envision the first Dominican GM extending his hand to a national hero, giving Pedro what he asked for, and saying to the effect, ‘Let’s make history.’

The Red Sox never had a chance.


I think the Red Sox have already done an unbelieveable job in the Dominican. By no means will the Yankees or Mets be the only teams they know. Not after all the Red Sox and their Dominican players have done. Here's an article if you'd like to read about the second home of the Boston Red Sox.
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Postby JRM4833 » Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:55 pm

Mookie4ever wrote:
JRM4833 wrote:Cornbread, ouch. I hadn't even had time to think about that. Guess there's no time like the present to start the hunt though.


How about this?

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Yikes. :-o

With Pedro gone, Schilling out til at least May, the thought of him as opening day starter truly scares me. Let them get Hudson. Please let them get Hudson.

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Postby Amazinz » Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:57 pm

I don't know what is about Wells but I've always liked him. I guess it has to do with him being more like a "real person" than most baseball players. I hope he does well for the Sox.
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