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Martinez Says No to Trade : Baseball: Deal would have sent Expo pitcher to Braves for two players.


Dennis Martinez exercised his option Thursday and rejected a trade that would have sent him to the Atlanta Braves for first baseman Brian Hunter and outfield prospect Troy Hughes.

Martinez will probably remain with the Expos through the season, General Manager Dan Duquette said, after which the pitcher will be eligible for free agency.

"Obviously, our choice was to make the deal," Duquette said. "Our choice was to get a young player or two to help us in the future and to free up some resources to pay some of our fine young players.

"I'm disappointed Dennis didn't go along with it, but he has that right. Most players complain about coming to Montreal. Dennis prefers to stay."

Martinez, 38, who is 11-8 with a 4.23 earned-run average, preferred to stay, Duquette said, for two reasons:

--As a potential free agent, he feared he wouldn't be seen at his best in September because he was unsure how many starts he would get in an Atlanta rotation that features Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Steve Avery and John Smoltz.

--And the Expos and Braves refused to compensate him for agreeing to the deal, his right as a player with 10 years in the majors, the last five with the same club.

Rickey Henderson recently received $300,000 from the Oakland A's for waiving his no-trade clause and agreeing to join the Toronto Blue Jays.

Since the Braves were never officially identified as the other team, Atlanta General Manager John Schuerholz refused comment.

The process began when the Braves, San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies claimed Martinez on waivers, leaving the Braves with first call on a potential trade because they have the poorest record of the three.

San Francisco had been trying to deal for Martinez most of the season.

"The Braves claimed him and traded for him essentially to keep us from getting him," Giant General Manager Bob Quinn said. "But if the figures I'm hearing are accurate, I couldn't have recommended him to our ownership anyway."

A Giant official said it was their understanding Martinez was willing to waive his approval rights for a new two-year contract at $5 million a year, but Duquette said a new contract wasn't the issue, that Martinez simply wanted compensation for waiving his rights.

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