Originally created 12/11/97

Martinez says pact to be $75 million



SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- NL Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez said Wednesday he had agreed to a record-setting $75 million, six-year contract with the Boston Red Sox.

Martinez said Boston has two option years that could raise the total amount of the contract to $92 million over eight seasons.

Team spokesman Kevin Shea said that while a long-term contract for Martinez is a priority, no deal had been completed. Jim Bronner, the pitcher's agent, declined comment.

"I'm a little ashamed to say how much I signed for," Martinez told Radio Universal.

The total dollars and the average salary of $12.5 million would be a baseball record. The largest package to date is Gary Sheffield's $61 million, six-year contract with Florida that starts next season. The highest average salary is the $11.5 million Greg Maddux will average in his $57.5 million, five-year contract that starts with Atlanta next season.

Earlier reports had said Martinez was close to agreeing to a $50 million, five-year deal. In addition, a baseball lawyer speaking on the condition he not be identified said Wednesday his understanding was that the contract called for Martinez to receive $72.5 million for for six seasons and that Boston would have a team option for 2004 at $17.5 million with a $2.5 million buyout. That would make the contract worth $90 million over seven seasons, an average of $12,857,143.

Martinez was acquired by the Red Sox from Montreal on Nov. 18 after going 17-8 with a major-league leading 1.90 ERA. He had 305 strikeouts, second in the majors behind Curt Schilling.

Martinez made $3,615,000 last season and was eligible for salary arbitration this winter and free agency after next season.

"I thank God that I was chosen to show the people that with effort they can do anything," Martinez said. "I come from a world of much poverty and, thanks to God, I've been able to get to where I am today."

Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette was on his way to the Dominican Republic to complete a deal with Martinez on Wednesday. Boston also hopes to complete long-term contracts with first baseman Mo Vaughn and infielder John Valentin.