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METS OFFER PEDRO THREE-YEAR CONTRACT

Pedro Martinez now has leverage in his dealings with the Red Sox. The New York Mets offered the free-agent right-hander a guaranteed three-year contract, a baseball official said Monday. Boston brass has been unwilling to guarantee anything to Martinez beyond two years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday that General Manager Omar Minaya pitched a three-year deal worth approximately $38 million that includes a vesting option for a fourth year similar to the one Tom Glavine received from the Mets in 2002.

Martinez met with George Steinbrenner in Tampa earlier this month, and subsequently dined with Alex Rodriguez in Miami. It's widely believed that flirtation mostly had to do with driving up the price tag for the Red Sox to re-sign Martinez.

Boston reportedly has offered a two-year, $25.5 million contract with a vesting option for 2007, which would kick in if Martinez remains healthy.

Martinez made $17.5 million in 2004, in the final season of a seven-year, $90 million contract.

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