NEW YORK -- To the surprise of no one and, probably, to the delight of Mets followers with short memories, Tom Glavine told the club on Friday that he would not exercise the option in his contract, a decision the Mets understood to mean the lefty would file for free agency and explore returning to the Braves if, indeed, he decides to pitch next season.
Glavine had spoken with the Mets on at least three occasions since the last day of the season and prepared them for the course of action -- or inaction -- he chose. He said on Wednesday night that not exercising the option wouldn't preclude him from re-signing with the Mets.
A clause in Glavine's contract obligated him to tell the club of his decision within five days of the end of the Mets' season. But that period, he said, was too brief. At age 41 -- he turns 42 in March -- and having reached 300 career victories, he is uncertain whether he will extend his career to a 22nd season.
A person familiar with the Mets' thinking said that the club would have been pleased if Glavine had chosen to return. The organization is hopeful he will return, but is prepared to move forward as if he will not.
Whether or not Glavine comes back to New York, the Mets are likely to seek to add a starting pitcher, either by trade or signing, who would provide a performance comparable with what Glavine provided last season -- 30-some-odd starts, 200 innings, at least 10 victories and a competent ERA.
Glavine pitched 200 1/3 innings in 34 starts and produced a 13-8 record and 4.45 ERA. His record was 13-6 and his ERA 3.88 through 31 starts. But he pitched merely 11 1/3 innings in his final three starts and allowed 17 runs. His most conspicuous performance, one that turned some talk-show callers -- and hosts -- against him, came in the Mets' 8-1, final-game loss to the Marlins, the loss that denied them a chance to tie for the National League East lead.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.