The Sox have offered Martinez a financial package similar to the multiyear contract Schilling signed last November to join Martinez as one of the most dominant 1-2 punches in the game. In their preliminary proposal, the Sox offered Martinez a two-year, $25.5 million contract with a $13 million option for 2007 and $2 million in potential performance bonuses, according to sources who are familiar with the terms and are aligned with neither side.
The major difference between the contract Schilling signed and the team’s offer to Martinez is the criteria for exercising the option for 2007 and achieving the $2 million in bonuses. Schilling cashed in on a one-of-a-kind provision that allowed him to trigger his 2007 option and collect the $2 million by helping the Sox win the World Series. Since Major League Baseball banned such clauses after mistakenly approving Schilling’s, the Sox substituted a provision that would link Martinez’s option year and bonus money to the number of innings he pitches and how he finishes in races for the Cy Young Award.
Martinez, who so far has left Boston’s proposal on the table, expects to receive more lucrative offers once teams other than the Sox can begin discussing financial terms with him Friday. The Yankees, for instance, are one of several teams that already have contacted him to express serious interest, and he anticipates their offer topping Boston’s, according to a source close to his camp.
But it remains to be seen how much it might take to lure Martinez away from Boston, which he has called home since 1998. His agent, Fernando Cuza, and Sox officials declined to comment.
Since Martinez has entered free agency for the first time and has indicated his next contract may be the last long-term pact of his career, he is widely believed to be seeking at least three years, or preferably four, guaranteed. Considering his pride and sensitivity to being disrespected, he is unlikely to be thrilled with Boston’s initial proposal. Yet the Sox may have insulated themselves against charges that they lowballed the three-time Cy Young Award winner by offering him a deal that effectively matches Schilling’s contract.
Hohler continues to make the point that Martinez is 5 years younger than Schilling. Though the former’s durability has been questioned, he did pitch 217 innings in 2004 (compared to Schilling’s 226), which was more than Roger Clemens, Bartolo Colon or Barry Zito managed.