ST. LOUIS, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Free agent first baseman Tino Martinez signed a three-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.
After losing in seven games to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series, the Yankees decided to go after free agent first baseman Jason Giambi, lavishing him with a seven-year contract worth more than $118 million.
"I had a great run there, but I knew they would go out and get Jason Giambi, so my mind was set I was going to switch teams," Martinez said at Tuesday's news conference. "But I didn't turn down a Yankee offer to come here. They just went in a different direction and I'm happy to be here."
Spurned by the Yankees, Martinez drew heavy interest from St. Louis, Oakland and Baltimore in the free agent market.
Martinez led the Yankees with 34 home runs and 113 RBI last season. But his .280 batting average paled in comparison to Giambi's .342 average with the Oakland Athletics.
Ironically, Martinez was considered a possible replacement for Giambi in Oakland, but instead will succeed McGwire, who retired due to knee problems.
"I didn't come in here and take his (McGwire's) job, he retired," Martinez said. "As soon as he announced it (retirement) I thought that would be a great place to play. The team is a contender and Tony La Russa is one of the best managers in the game, so this was a great fit for me."