Martinez comes home and bashes Boston
Friday, December 17th 2004, 8:25 pm
By: News On 6
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ Pedro Martinez returned home Friday and bashed the team he led to a World Series title. The pitching ace knocked the Boston Red Sox for their front-office moves and negotiating tactics, and predicted a rough season awaits.
``They will field the best bad team in baseball history,'' Martinez said at a news conference Friday.
One day after he was introduced by the New York Mets _ who signed him to a four-year, US$53 million (euro39.2 million) contract _ Martinez criticized the Red Sox for firing key employees, including team doctor Bill Morgan.
Martinez said he was ``dumbfounded'' to hear that fellow Dominican Manny Ramirez could be mentioned as possible trade bait after winning the World Series Most Valuable Player.
``After giving seven great years, (catcher) Jason Varitek, (pitcher) Derek Lowe and I were not signed,'' Martinez said.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner said the Mets ``have shown more respect in days than Boston did in seven years.''
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein discounted the comments, and said Friday that Martinez is ``a brilliant pitcher ... an emotional person as well.''
``It doesn't bother me,'' Epstein said. ``I don't necessarily define myself by what anyone says about me, let alone a player that we just didn't sign to bring back to Boston. We'll be fine as an organization.
``I just don't put much stock in that. It's a heat of the moment type thing,'' Epstein said. ``I choose to look at the man, not one comment.''
Accompanied by Mets vice president Fred Wilpon, general manager Omar Minaya and Martinez's agent Fernando Cuza, Martinez said Boston had ``every opportunity'' to sign him in the past two years, even below market value.
``I'm a proud man and I think I deserve a little respect for the work I've done,'' he said. ``I felt disillusioned and hurt by the way the Red Sox let me go so easily.''
Red Sox principal owner John Henry said the club ``offered Pedro exactly what he said it would take to sign him'' when team officials visited Martinez in the Dominican Republic on Dec. 8.
``Our organization went out of our way to treat Pedro with the greatest respect over the past three years. I am surprised and very disappointed by the continuing negative comments in that regard,'' Henry said Friday in an e-mail to The Associated Press. ``Nevertheless, I wish him great success with the Mets.''
Martinez, 33, said he could retire after finishing his contract with the Mets.
``I don't plan to play until I'm 40 years, but I will have four years to study that decision,'' he said.
Martinez shook off questions about the condition of his arm in light of a 16-9 record and a 3.90 ERA in his final season with Boston.
``I felt good this year and I feel good now,'' he said. ``I don't know where rumors about my health started,'' Martinez said. ``I didn't have a bad year, but it wasn't the norm for me.''
Martinez hopes to inject new life into the Mets, who finished next to last in the National League East in 2004 after finishing last the two previous seasons.
``My goal now is to stay healthy and get the Mets back to the World Series and win it,'' Martinez said.