2006 NEWS

2006 News > 10/20/06


By Bryan Hoch, MLB.com
Original Article HERE.

NEW YORK -- Tom Glavine hoisted a duffel bag over his left shoulder on Friday in the Mets clubhouse, wincing.

"Ooh," Glavine joked. "That might put me on the DL."

The weighty contents were the personal possessions that, until that morning, had made up the dressings of Glavine's locker. But as he walked out of Shea Stadium with his wife, Christine, Glavine also carried a sizable amount of uncertainty.

Glavine's four-year commitment to the Mets expired when Carlos Beltran struck out looking to end Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.

He hopes to play one more season, win 10 more games to reach 300 for his career, then retire. That much is set in stone. But a major part of Glavine's future appears to be evenly split.

Glavine said that he could see himself pitching in one of two uniforms next season: that of the Mets or the Atlanta Braves, for whom he won 242 of those games and who would offer the comfort of living closer to his four children and their residence in Alpharetta, Ga.

"There's a lot of reasons why I want to stay here, and obviously some things that make me think about going home," he said. "I haven't gotten there yet. I have to talk to my family and at some point talk to [Mets COO] Jeff [Wilpon].

"It's not going to be an easy decision either way. We'll just let it play out."

Glavine and the Mets have a mutual option that could keep the left-hander in New York for another season. The player option for 2007 is for $7.5 million, and the Mets have a club option for $14 million.

General manager Omar Minaya indicated that the team is interested in bringing back the 40-year-old.

"I'm very hopeful that Tom Glavine will be a New York Met next year," Minaya said. "I think we're going to have to sit down with Tom and [find out] his issues, but we would love to have Tom Glavine back."

Glavine went 15-7 with a 3.82 ERA in 32 regular-season starts for New York, and with Pedro Martinez expected to be out until after the 2007 All-Star break following rotator cuff surgery, Glavine would provide veteran leadership to a pitching rotation that figures to begin next season a touch younger.

Glavine said that even had the Mets won five more games in the postseason and come away World Series champions, it would not have made his choice between Atlanta and New York any easier.

During the season, Glavine resides in Connecticut, and his family has spent the summers with him, but there are several weeks during the schedule when Glavine wonders what he might be missing at home.

"It's my family," he said. "That's the biggest issue. It's hard being away from home, and it's harder now. My kids are all four years older. There's more going on, and they understand me not being home more. That part of it gets harder.

"It's certainly not the kind of thing [where] we couldn't suck it up and do it for one more year, but I think it's also the kind of thing that I have to be sensitive to."

Glavine has grown comfortable after a shaky beginning in New York, but one would imagine that if he were to re-enter the Braves' picture, he could reach a similar level.

Though his relationship with Atlanta GM John Schuerholz was strained by inside details released in a book this spring, Glavine's situation with manager Bobby Cox is unparalleled. Furthermore, Glavine's buddy John Smoltz recently had his contract renewed.

More than anything else, Glavine said, his decision will come down to five factors. Their names are Christine, Amber, Jonathan, Peyton and Mason.

If Glavine has indeed thrown his final pitches in a Mets uniform, they would have come in St. Louis as the losing pitcher of NLCS Game 5.

He said that would obviously be a less-than-ideal ending, but he preferred to look brightly upon the strides the Mets made as a team and an organization over his time at Shea.

"I've enjoyed it," he said. "I've enjoyed playing here. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but standing here four years later, I feel like I've grown as a person. I've had a lot of great experiences here. My family has had a lot of great experiences here.

"I feel like I'm a better person and a better pitcher than I was four years ago. Really, I have nothing but good memories overall. There are some bad ones sprinkled in, but overall the experience has been a positive one."