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Martinez prepared to walk

Martinez ready to walk

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Declaring "enough is enough," Pedro Martinez last night closed the door on contract negotiations with the Red Sox, saying he will enter free agency after the season and play next year where he is wanted, even if it's the Bronx.

"Right now, it's done," he said. "It's not going to work this year. At least for the rest of the year I'm going to concentrate on playing baseball and do whatever I have to do for the team to try to win."

Martinez, who is playing the final season of a seven-year, $90 million contract, maintained he would like to finish his career with the Sox if they care to sign him as a free agent. But he made clear he was irked by the team, in his view, misleading the public about the degree of its commitment to signing him, and playing "dirty" by unfairly raising questions about the condition of his shoulder.

"I just don't like people lying, trying to fake that they're signing us when they never made an effort strong enough to make us actually think about anything," Martinez said. "They never made us an offer. I waited an extra month to actually let [principal owner] John Henry do whatever he promised me he was going to do, and nothing came out of it."

As for his belief that the Sox privately suggested his shoulder might be at risk, he asserted they did so "just to bring my contract down."

"That's the whole issue," Martinez said. "That bothered me a little bit because that was dirty playing after I promised I was going to keep my mouth shut about the negotiations. That bothered me that they did that just to bring my salary down or make things more difficult for me to go in a free agency year."

Moreover, he said, "If you don't want me, it's OK. Just let me go with somebody else. Don't try to damage my future by just sneaking things around when I didn't do anything to this management or the fans."

Sox executives were not available to comment early this morning.

Asked why the Sox would use such a ploy, if they did, Martinez said, "Maybe they needed me to sign for a cheaper salary than they thought I should earn. It's not bad to negotiate. I understand that. At the same time, don't try to give me a friendly face and say, `We're trying hard. Keep [public discussion] low,' just like they did to [Derek Lowe], try to keep him shut down so he wouldn't say anything."

Martinez said he also was put off by the team's proposal to include a clause in any future contract that would void the deal if his career was cut short by an injury.

"That was the only thing they talked about in spring training," he said. "I said, `Don't even bring it up anymore.' The same thing to [catcher Jason] Varitek. Would you talk to Varitek about a voidable contract? That's not fair to a guy like that."

Martinez blamed the Sox for failing to make fair offers not only to him but to the team's other core free agents: Varitek, Lowe, and Nomar Garciaparra.

"We just tried and it didn't work out," he said. "I gave them every opportunity to actually get it done, last year as well. They keep pretty much just waiting and waiting. I didn't feel like they were making the real effort, not for me, not for Tek, not for D-Lowe, not for anybody, so the time is due. It's time to go on."

Martinez said he was flexible enough to accept substantially less than he will earn this year as the highest-paid pitcher in the game: $17.5 million.

"I did give them all the chances. I actually made moves from my salary to come down all the way where I could without falling below anybody I didn't feel like I had to fall below, and they never made any movement."

Indeed, Martinez said, he would have accepted "a lot less" than he earned in his current contract. He said he proposed such a reduction last year when the team was open to negotiating, but not since.

"I went down to actually where I couldn't go any lower," he said. "I would be disrespecting my career and the future of the game for the other players coming up."

He said the team never made solid final offers to him or the other free agents. Nor, he said, would they entertain offers from him.

"There never has been [competitive offers] for D-Lowe, never has been for Tek, never has been for Nomar, never has been for me, either," Martinez said. "So enough is enough. That's it."

Martinez joins Lowe in saying he plans to enter free agency after the season. Varitek and Garciaparra have yet to publicly close the door to negotiating during the season, but neither has given any indication the team has aggressively pursued them.

Martinez said he was encouraged about the possibility of reaching an agreement when he met with Henry and team executives during spring training.

"[Henry] said he was going to get involved and he said he was going to try to work with some of the insurance companies or whatever," Martinez said. "I thought I would at least hear an offer. Tek and D-Lowe and everybody were expecting the same thing. As of now, I didn't hear an offer. Actually, it was all just waiting for nothing."

Martinez said he did not know why the Sox have not pursued him more intensely, but he suggested they may be interested in saving money. He did not name president and CEO Larry Lucchino but indirectly cited him.

"If you look at the background of those people in management, who was there with the Orioles when the team went from a competitive team to a noncompetitive team?" Martinez said. "Who was behind the Orioles? I don't know. You take your pick. I'm not going to mention their names."

Martinez is expected to use the perceived slight as motivation.

"I'm going to try to prove them wrong," he said. "I told them that, too. I told them if they let me go, I could understand it and I could live with it, but I'm going to try to prove them wrong."

Martinez had previously said the only team he would never play for again was the Dodgers. But now he even is open to the possibility of playing in Los Angeles.

"I will consider any team as of now," he said. "The Dodgers don't have the same people that were there when I was mistreated. I'm open to anybody, just as I am open to anybody in the future."

He stopped short of threatening to bolt to the Bronx after the season, though he left the door open. The Sox will have a brief window to exclusively negotiate with Martinez as a free agent after the season.

"I'll play for anybody, but I'm not going to say I'm going to try to play for the Yankees before I give Boston the opportunity to sign me," he said. "Boston has probably the same chances the Yankees will have."

As for the prospect of him wearing pinstripes, he said, "I have to earn a living. I have to keep a job. I'm not going to go home at 32 and actually sit on my back. If I get an offer and the Boston Red Sox don't want me, I'm not going to sit on my back just because I used to play in Boston. I have a life, too."

He said he would cherish a World Series ring with the Sox more than any other. And he said the fans should not hold his position against him.

"The fans know that my heart and my body and my whole professional career belongs to them," he said. "If they want to judge this as me being a rebel, no. That's not it. I gave Boston the best opportunity I could give any team to keep me here the rest of my career."

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