Winter Meetings: No Deal Yet For Pedro

<b>ANAHEIM – </b> Pedro Martinez is closer to finishing his career with the Boston Red Sox, as sources indicate the club is now willing to offer a guaranteed third contract year.

CBS-4 in Boston reported Friday that agent Fernando Cuza and the Red Sox have hammered out the preliminary pieces of a three-year, $40 million deal that ensures Martinez will be present when the Sox raise their championship flag in Fenway Park in April.

For weeks, it was questioned whether Martinez even wanted to return to Boston. After a 16-9 season for the World Champions, he openly courted the enemy, the New York Yankees, by heading to Tampa and spending time with George Steinbrenner and Alex Rodriguez.

Then, Martinez met with New York Mets GM Omar Minaya and mulled over a substantial three-year offer from that club.

However, Martinez's latest visit with Red Sox brass, which included owner John Henry and team president Larry Lucchino, may have turned the tide.

Though the Sox appeared lukewarm toward Martinez's possible return, openly embracing free agent right-hander Carl Pavano, Henry and his associates met with Martinez in a Santo Domingo airport terminal and may have extended an olive branch of support.

Martinez's Red Sox teammate, David Ortiz, was most succinct, telling the Boston Globe that "he ain't going to no Mets."

Speaking on Friday with the New York media, Minaya refused to put full stock in the reports of Martinez's pending deal with Boston, still believing there was a chance that the three-time Cy Young award winner might choose the Mets' offer. The GM would not say if the Mets planned to extend the offer in an attempt to outbid the Red Sox.

"I know he hasn't signed yet," Minaya said. "Until that time, he's one of the options out there for us."

However, even as a possible new deal with Boston loomed, Minaya said that he wasn't necessarily so sure a dark horse team – can you say Yankees? – wouldn't emerge at the 11th hour.

"I think with a pitcher of his caliber, there has to be more than two teams," Minaya said.

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