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John Henry's Not Happy with Petey

4.09.03:  John Henry (JH) calls in from cell phone to The Big Show with Glenn Ordway (GO) & Michael Felger (MF) and Chris Collins (CC):

JH:  Hi, I'm a call-in caller today... I couldn't help but comment on your last discussion at least with regard to rebuilding, especially after buying the Marlins, just after Wayne had let everyone go after the 1998 World Series. One thing thing you don't have to worry about is us coming up with some cockamamie plan to start over or rebuild.

GO:  (recap) Caller called up, brought up the premise that maybe the reason that you and the Red Sox had exercised the option on Pedro's contract right now is that were looking at short term, to have a strong ballclub this year, next year, to win the whole thing, have a little bit of latitude that you could deal him away or certainly have the strength to win a championship this year or next year, and then worry about 2004 after 2004.

JH:  Just thought I'd give you some insight into what we think. When Theo and I talk, when Larry and I talk, we all talk about trying to build a team that can make the playoffs every year. Every year you have eight teams make it, they're somewhat evenly matched in these short series. So, it's the most important thing and keeping and maintaining a championship team is to make the playoffs every year, so we don't think in terms of going for it in any particular year. We feel that we have to have a team that can be competitive every year. I mean we charge a lot of money for these tickets.

GO:  This is a long-term situation, that's what you're telling me.    JH: Yeah...

CC:  John, did you hear something on the air in the last 20 minutes that was just so wrong that you had to call and say that was so wrong and if that's the case, what was it?

JH:  Well it was just simply that, I heard the comment about what happened with the Marlins, and having gone through that situation, to see the way that it really destroyed that franchise, it's just not something that's gonna happen here. You're not gonna have Pedro and Manny and Nomar one day and then get a whole new team the next, it's just not gonna happen

GO:  You've obviously picked up the newspapers. You have read the comments by Pedro Martinez. You just exercised an option that gave him 17 and a half million dollars. And it's certainly, in the comments I've read here, doesn't seem to have brought you an awful lot of goodwill via this player that you just gave all this cash to.

JH:  I would uh... I couldn't disagree with you. I could not disagree with that comment based on what I read today.

CC:  Does that disappoint you?

JH:  ......... um.... I don't know if I want to create any more quotes :-)... but I can't disagree with what you are saying.

GO:  Well obviously when you exercise the option I would think you expected that this guy would at least say something more positive along the lines of "and now we can negotiate and work something out at the end of the season" instead he's coming out and basically saying that the deal that you had on the table, even though you've just given him $17.54 million John is off the table, and he's telling you his demands are going to be greater come November. Do you regret giving him the $17.5 million?

JH:  .....well I don't know what to say other than uh hopefully we'll be able to make a deal, but I can't disagree with what you're saying.

CC:  John, knowing Pedro, and having gone through this in spring training, when you told him to put the squelch on him, you told him to quiet down, and he went through the negotiation period relatively quiet. Why when you're working on a contract extension would you not have kept those same parameters on Pedro Martinez... and made that very clear after you picked up the option?

JH:  Well I don't think we ever told him he can't talk about anything, I don't think that it's..

CC:  (Collins interrupting now -- as if his cumbersome questions aren't bad enough) But Larry himself had said we kept this relatively quiet, Pedro himself has said we've kept this relatively quiet, we don't want to let it play out in the media, we're gonna handle it behind closed doors, and now this)

JH:  Well that's why I don't want to make too many comments here about it, because, I think we have a sort of understanding that we'll try to keep these discussions among ourselves.

GO:  You mentioned yesterday that there were other issues, other things in those negotiations that obviously we were not privy to that information. I read in this morning's newspaper that Pedro Martinez revealed that this season, in which he's being paid $15 million, that that contract was not covered by insurance. He had claimed that he had agreed to go for a physical for insurance purposes, but would not do so unless the club exercised the option. Could that possibly have been one of those things that you would not reveal yesterday, and if that's the case are you disappointed that the player would reveal something like that.

JH:  No, it's not one of the issues. You could contractually... the contract that he has now says (cell call drops... Glenn: He's obviously disappointed at the Pedro contract situation) anyway that was not an issue because his existing contract provides for that. He had an obligation in there under his existing contract.

GO:  John are you at all concerned, based on the comments by Pedro today, that other players are going to look at this and maybe they're going to act up about their particular contract situation situation.

JH:  Well hopefully not. One of the things that we said all along is that Pedro is a special talent, he's won Cy Youngs, and we're going to work with him to try to make sure he stays in a Red Sox uniform. We're going to try to work with others, we have had conversations with others, but we're trying to keep them in the background rather than the forefront.

CC:  You got a guy like Derek Lowe who is obviously looking for an extension, this cannot make things easy in dealing with his contract.

JH:  I think Derek has handled everything on or off the field very well.

GO:  Thanks for calling in, call any time you want

JH:  Well I appreciate being able to comment on that, because that is something that we are consciously working towards each year.

CC:  Let me ask you real quick, there's no way you can keep this core of players together. You can't pay Manny 20, Pedro, Lowe Nomar, etc. at some point you're going to have to, if not blow this team up, drastically rework it just if nothing more than the financial aspect of it and you are obviously sensitive to that feeling (Chris Collins questions are so painful, that one is abbreviated).

JH:  Well I don't believe we have to blow the team up.We have sufficient resources. Prices in baseball are coming down for players. Every team is having a problem trying to resign its stars, that there may be some stars that will just be impossible to resign, but we're going to give it every effort. I think yesterday we showed that we're willing to make every effort to keep our stars.

GO:  But you can show all the effort you want if the player does not feel that it's not market value. And I gotta tell you I was shocked and I actually saw it last night on redsox.com, all these comments by Pedro before last night's game. And I gotta give redsox.com credit, they certainly didn't shy away from any of the things that Pedro had to say, but I read these comments as I'm watching the game and I must tell you that I was shocked... that that quickly Pedro would react to this. He obviously is talking about his market value. He is mentioning specific players, including Kevin Brown who we all know was vastly overpaid and talking about how much money he should be paid and certainly giving the impression that he should be paid over and above what those guys are making. So he certainly has a much different idea of where the market value is going for premier players.

JH:  Yeah he may ultimately impossible to resign, but we're going to extend every effort we can to sign him.

GO:  Do you think it will be harder to sign him now, that you've given him $17.5 million for next year and that certainly you're not going below $17.5 million in year one of that contract which would be the 2005 season?

JH:  This is one area that I can't really get too much into because it leads into some of the issues I was talking about yesterday that you just don't want to be discussing publically.

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