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Reed agrees to 3-year deal with Mets

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Posted: Wednesday December 06, 2000 3:09 PM
Updated: Wednesday December 06, 2000 7:08 PM

  Rick Reed In his major league career, Rick Reed has a 59-45 record with a 3.94 ERA in 179 games, 160 starts. Allsport USA/Allsport

NEW YORK (AP) -- Rick Reed is more interested in recognition than money. He hopes his new three-year, $21.75 million contract with the New York Mets gets him both.

"A lot of people told me I couldn't even play baseball," the 35-year-old right-hander said Wednesday after agreeing to the deal that keeps him with the New York Mets. "Look at me now. I'm in the major leagues. Some people may think I have a chip on my shoulder or what have you, but that gets me motivated."

Reed, a replacement player in 1995, didn't stick in the major leagues for good until 1997.

"I feel like I can beat anyone in the league. I feel like I'm one of the top pitchers in the league," he said. "I'm not out to prove anybody wrong. It's been that way my whole life. It was that way growing up. I had a lot of people telling me I couldn't do this, I couldn't do that. That motivates me even more."

He grew up in Huntington, W.Va., and lives in Proctorville, Ohio.

"There's a lot of people in my town who said I couldn't do it," he said.

"I stuck it out. I worked hard. The biggest thing for me is I kept my mouth shut, my ears open and learned a lot from the older players."

Reed was 11-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 30 starts last season, when he earned $4,375,000, and is 51-30 in the last four seasons.

After watching Mike Hampton, Bobby J. Jones and Reed become free agents, Mets general manager Steve Phillips joked that Al Leiter and Glendon Rusch -- New York's two remaining starters -- were on track to pitch 400 innings each.

"Getting Rick in tow helps solidly the starting pitching," Phillips said. "Now we have two more spots to fill in our starting rotation."

Reed gets $6.75 million next season, $7 million in 2002 and $8 million in 2003. The Mets have an $8 million option for 2004 that would become guaranteed if Reed has either 585 innings pitched in the next three seasons or 400 in 2002 and 2003.

"It was pretty amazing to me those numbers were being thrown my way," Reed said. "It's still stunning."

After Andy Ashby wavered Tuesday on his deal with Los Angeles, the Dodgers called Reed's agent, Phil Tannenbaum.

"We discussed the parameters of a contract late yesterday afternoon after we had made the decision that we were going to move forward and we thought Andy was not coming to Los Angeles," Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone said.

Reed had been seeking a four-year,$32 million contract from the Mets -- matching Al Leiter's deal with New York.

"It was a very tough decision he made last evening turning away more money from another ballclub." Tannenbaum said,

Depending on whether he plays during the option year, Reed will be 38 or 39 when this contract expires.

"I wanted to end my career in my career in New York. It's a great place to play," he said.

His daughter, Madison, is 4 months old and he wants to retire after this deal to spend time at home.

"I wanted to get my 10 years of service in," he said. "I wanted to watch my daughter grow up. She would be starting school. We would be financially set."

New York already has re-signed two of its relievers, agreeing to a three-year, $10.5 million contract with John Franco, and a three-year deal with Turk Wendell worth one cent less $9.4 million.

Now Phillips will turn his attention to Hampton and other free-agent pitchers.

"We're part of that pool of teams that he has narrowed the decision-making down to," Phillips said. "We hope to bring him back as we were able to do with Rick."

Notes: Mark Bingham, the Mets' senior vice president of marketing and broadcasting, was hired Wednesday as president of Octagon Marketing USA, a division of the Interpublic Group. The company's client list includes Orel Hershiser, David Wells, Tom Glavine, David Robinson, Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova.


 
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