Pedro says he's received offers

Pedro says he's received offers

The availability of Pedro Martinez as a free agent has prompted interest among big league clubs, according to the veteran right-hander. With less than three weeks remaining before the beginning of Spring Training, the 37-year-old pitcher has received offers, though not from the Mets, the club he said he'd prefer to return to.

Martinez said, "I've received various formal offers from various clubs who have a lot of interest in me," though he didn't identify them. He said his priorities were "my comfort and [maintaining] my health."

He was quoted last weekend as having said he had received no offers.

Speaking to The Associated Press in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Friday, Martinez said, "I think I still have a couple of years [remaining in his career]. If not I wouldn't be going through all of this because I'm a man of respect, and I wouldn't put my legacy on the line like that."

Martinez confirmed his meeting with Mets general manager Omar Minaya in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and characterized it as friendly.

"We talked about a lot of things," Martinez said. "There were questions about my health. I can tell you that they are interested in me."

He said he had various ways to demonstrate his readiness to resume his career, including participation in the World Baseball Classic as a member of the Dominican team.

"But in the end," Martinez said, "there is nothing concrete [with the Mets]."

He did not rule out the possibility of returning to the Mets. Last month he said he hoped to re-sign with the club that paid him $53 million over the past four seasons. The Mets steadfastly had indicated little interest in re-signing Martinez until they visited him this week. They made no offer.

"If possibilities [of re-signing with the Mets] exist, we'll find them," Martinez said. "What we need to do is find a halfway point between where they are and where we are."

In December, the Mets' sense of Martinez's return was that he would be unwilling to accept a contract consistent with the club's assessment of what he can provide.

The Mets have a vacancy in their rotation and are pursuing free agents Oliver Perez and Randy Wolf. There has been no indication whether their interest in Martinez would be affected by signing either.

Hot Stove

A person familiar with the Mets' thinking said Wednesday signing the three-time Cy Young Award winner was "a long shot," but indicated the club intends to begin the season certain it will have sufficient starting pitching depth, "So we have five competitive pitchers available all year."

Martinez played a limited role with the Mets since late in the 2006 season when he tore his right rotator cuff -- it required surgery in October 2006 -- and pulled muscles in both calves.

The 5-6 record he produced was his first losing record since 1992, when he made his first two big league appearances and lost his only decision. His 5.61 ERA was the highest of his career by more than a run and his first over 3.00 since 1996. His ERA in the first inning was 10.35. In subsequent innings, it was 4.85. He allowed seven home runs in the first.

"I know I had a bad year in 2008," Martinez said. "And understand that my value has dropped a little, but I will not go to the ridiculous either."

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.