Glavine needs more time to plan future
Lefty likely won't exercise option, but return not ruled out
NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine likely will not exercise the option in his contract that would guarantee his return to the Mets next season, but he said on Wednesday night that not exercising it won't necessarily end his tenure with the club. Instead it will afford him additional time to decide whether he wants to continue pitching at all.
Speaking from his home in Alpharetta, Ga., Glavine indicated that he had spoken twice with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon since the Mets' season ended on Sunday and that he doubted Wilpon would be surprised by his not exercising the option.
"No one who's been around me all season could be surprised," Glavine said, "because I've said all along that I had no idea what I was going to do and that I'd need time to think it over. Five days was never going to be enough time.
"And after what happened Sunday, I'm sure I need more time."
Glavine said that his decisions -- whether to pitch, and whether to pitch for the Mets -- probably would come at about the same time he decided last year to return to the Mets, in late November or early December, but no earlier than the end of this month.
"I don't know. There's a lot of things to consider," he said.
Glavine is also unsure if returning to the Braves is a possibility. Atlanta made no effort to re-sign him last winter and apparently still has fiscal restraints despite freeing Andruw Jones and thus making significant money available to spend in other areas.
Glavine said that the Mets want him to return.
"I've spoken to Jeff twice and [GM] Omar [Minaya] once," he said. "I didn't get the impression they didn't want me back."
Glavine characterized the deadline for exercising the option, established as five days after the Mets' final game, as "a formality or technicality that was worked into my contract late [in the negotiations]."
The option is his. Because his innings reached 200 in 2007, the salary he would earn in 2008, were he to exercise the option, is $13 million. The base pay had been $9 million, but incentive clauses based on innings increased that by $4 million.
Glavine, who will be 42 when the 2008 season begins, produced a 13-8 record and 4.45 ERA in 34 starts and 200 1/3 innings this season, and also became a member of the exclusive 300-wins club. No Mets pitcher made as many starts and pitched as many innings as he. John Maine and Oliver Perez won 15 games each, but each lost 10 times.
Of course, his final one-third of an inning is most fresh in the minds of anyone connected to the Mets. It came on Sunday, when he retired just one of nine batters and allowed seven runs in what became the 8-1 loss to the Marlins that eliminated the Mets. He knows how that performance and its ramifications have affected Mets fans and tarnished his image.
"I can't stop them from focusing on the last three starts and jumping on the bandwagon," he said. "But I had 23 quality starts, and, in 16 of my starts, I allowed two runs or fewer. If they want me gone, they'd have to replace 200 innings. In my experience, the hardest things to replace are guys who score 100 runs and pitchers who give you 200 innings."
Glavine has averaged 205 innings the last four seasons and led the team in innings each year except 2005.
In other news: The first phase of repairing the Mets began on Wednesday, when Carlos Beltran underwent a debridement of the patella tendon in each knee at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Dr. David Altcheck, the Mets' medical director, performed the minor arthroscopic procedures, removing the small, loose particles that had caused the center fielder pain the last two years.
Beltran is expected to be fully healed and ready to participate in Spring Training, as is left-hander Jason Vargas, who had a bone spur removed from his left elbow on Wednesday, a procedure also performed by Altchek.
The club also announced that Maine does not have a sports hernia, as had been suspected. Maine's left hip was examined via MRI exam on Monday. The club did not say if any other malady was detected. Maine experienced pain in the hip beginning in Spring Training, he said on Monday. The pain increased after the All-Star break.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.