NEW YORK -- Tom Seaver, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, returned to the New York Mets today after a five-year absence in a four-player trade with Cincinnati that sent pitcher Charlie Puleo and two minor leaguers to the Reds.
As part of the deal, the Reds also recieved catcher Lloyd McClendon and outfielder Jason Felice.
The groundwork for the trade was laid at the baseball meetings in Hawaii last week and culminated Wednesday when the Mets reached agreement with the 38-year-old Seaver. Although no contract terms were disclosed, Mets general manager Frank Cashen said the team had renegotiated the remaining year on Seaver's contract with the Reds and extended that agreement an additional three years. It is estimated that Seaver will receive approximately $750,000 for the 1983 season and a slightly lower salary for each of the next three years.
'As we face the 1983 campaign, we were looking for a veteran quality starting pitcher who, in addition to being a staff leader, would serve as a role model for our young pitchers. Tom Seaver fits that description to perfection,' Cashen said.
Seaver broke in with the Mets in 1966 and pitched for them until 1977 when he was traded to the Reds on June 15 after a contract hassle with then club president M. Donald Grant. During his 12 years with the Mets, Seaver won 20 or more games in a season four times and was named the National League's Cy Young Award winner in 1969, '73 and '75. Seaver is fifth among active pitchers in victories with a 264-156 record.
'When I left the organization, I didn't really think I would be back,' said Seaver, who leads all active major league pitchers with a 2.68 ERA. 'Now, it's just startying to dawn on me that I'm a Met again and I couldn't be happier. This will be a year of mission for me. I want to prove to the Mets and to the fans of New York that I can still pitch and I know inside that I still can or else I wouldn't be here.'
Seaver also won 21 games in 1977 when he split the season with New York and Cincinnati and won in double figures for the Reds in 1978-79-80-81.
However, he slumped to a 5-13 record this past season after suffering a leg injury in spring training and also coming down with a viral infection that took away his strength. He did not reach full strength until late in the season, but by then the Reds were far out of the pennant race and it was agreed he shouldn't pitch again during the year.
Puleo, 27, posted a 9-9 record this year in his rookie season. Mets manager George Bamberger had argued with the club about parting with the right-hander, but the Reds insisted Puleo be included in the deal.
McClendon, 22, was the Mets' eighth selection in the June, 1980 draft. Last summer, he hit .273 with 18 homers and 78 RBI for Lynchburg of the Class-A Carolina League.
Felice, 22, was the Mets' first selection in the secondary phase of the June, 1981 draft. In 1982, he batted .300 with 19 homers and 64 RBI for Little Falls and was voted to the New York-Penn League's all-star team.