Pedro offer on the table

The Mets are serious about Pedro Martinez. But is the free agent righthander ready to make a jump back to the National League?

According to several newspaper reports, the Mets have offered Martinez a three-year contract worth approximately $37.5 million. That offer is considerably better than the original one Martinez received from the Red Sox several weeks ago, which only guaranteed two years and left a third open to health-based options.

The 33-year-old Martinez went 16-9 with a career-high 3.90 ERA this season for the World Champion Red Sox, yet his ERA still ranked ninth in the American League.

Though Martinez isn't quite the pitcher he was when he won his three Cy Young awards – Martinez has shown a propensity to tire in the late innings and required some coddling from the Red Sox in the second half of 2004 – he still ranks as one of the top hurlers in the game and would provide a huge boost of excitement to a largely overlooked Mets club.

Signing Martinez would also give the Mets a leg up over their cross-town rivals, the Yankees, who are said to be iffy on the prospect of signing Martinez despite earlier reports.

Owner George Steinbrenner did meet with Martinez at Legends Field in Tampa, Fla. earlier this month, but it is speculated that the meeting was more about prompting Boston to boost their offer to three years rather than actually discussing Pedro in pinstripes.

The movement toward Martinez is a radical departure from the Mets' plans of just a few weeks ago, when the team was actively negotiating with Al Leiter. With these new developments, it is believed that the Mets have now closed the door on a return for the 39-year-old lefthander, who could wind up signing with the Yankees.

Mets Notes

In other news, a source familiar with the Mets' thinking discloses that the team has serious interest in free agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez. The Mets continue to have at least some interest in re-signing Richard Hidalgo, but the Mets are encouraged by reports of Ordonez's healing left knee and the discount that the injury will likely bring for importing a star right fielder.

Also, Monday's reports concerning free agent first baseman Richie Sexson may have been premature. Newsday reports that the Mets have interest in Sexson, but have not tendered him a contract just yet.

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