As part of Pedro Martinez's Boston media tour since rejoining the Red Sox as a special assistant, he was interviewed this morning by Dennis and Callahan. He had lots to say, and I encourage you to check out the recap they put up on WEEI.com.
One of the most interesting parts of the interview was when Martinez discussed his signing with the Mets after 2004. The Red Sox had stuck to their guns (as has been the status quo with many veterans over the last decade), limiting their offers to short-term deals. If memory serves, they were in the 2/25 range, and Pedro ended up getting 4/52 from the Mets. Callahan asked Pedro if he regretted the decision, and Pedro unveiled a lot of new information about the negotiations.
“Why did I leave? Because I made a mistake before the negotiations. Now that I’m experienced, I’ll suggest to anybody that even if you are dying to stay in a city, just don’t admit that openly. Because when I did say my best interest is to stay in Boston, I think Theo [Esptein] or [Larry] Lucchino, they knew that I wanted to stay in Boston. They offered me whatever the smallest amount could be. And that was a mistake. If I don’t open my mouth so early, they don’t know whether I want to leave or not. So, they would probably take that into consideration.
“Right after I agreed to the Mets, Theo called me the next day and said, ‘Hey, we’re willing to give you all that.’ But I had already committed to the Mets.”
Pretty cool stuff. I'm shocked to see him name Lucchino by name (since technically Lucchino is now some form of a boss of his), even though they were pretty vocal in the past.
Pedro clarified that the Sox did not offer to match what the Mets gave him, but merely meet whatever his demands were from the Red Sox -- which he did not specify, but said it was less than what he got to leave.
It's an interesting what-might-have-been. Could Pedro have transitioned from ace to more of an innings eater? How would the fans have handled it? At the time, many were hoping, for sentimental reasons, that Pedro stick around. But perhaps it's best that we didn't see his decline. His '04 was a rough season -- his 3.90 ERA was by far his worst in a Boston uniform, and more in line with what he put up in four years in New York. And that was in the NL East -- and he missed a lot of time due to injuries.
Pedro says he has no regrets, and I'd say we shouldn't either. And it will be interesting to see if Pedro's advice about keeping mum sticks. Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia have recently talked about wanting to be in Boston for their whole careers; David Ortiz always had trouble denying it. Perhaps the next round of prospects will be more closed-mouthed.