New York Mets Wiretap
According to a report by the Boston Globe posted on its Web site late Friday afternoon, the Red Sox and Mets engaged in some serious talks Friday regarding a deal that would send Manny Ramirez to the Big Apple.
The report, which quoted an unnamed source close to the situation, said a third team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, were also involved in the talks.
A source who is with one of the three teams involved in the talks told the Globe that the principal scenario discussed by the teams would have the Red Sox receiving infielder/outfielder Aubrey Huff from the Devil Rays and outfielder Mike Cameron from the Mets.
The Mets would receive Ramirez from the Red Sox and closer Danys Baez from the Devil Rays.
Tampa Bay would receive a number of prospects, possibly from both clubs.
If the Red Sox have to deal a prospect, the report said, it could be Double-A pitcher Anibal Sanchez.
''I'm not sure this thing is really going to happen, but it's definitely being discussed,'' the source told the Globe.
Ramirez still has three years and $64 million left on his contract. According to the report, it is unknown if the Mets would assume the entire sum or whether Boston would assume some portion of that amount.
One source stressed to the Globe that the Red Sox have additional motivation to make this deal as Ramirez will have the right after this season to veto a trade under baseball's ''10-5'' rule, which applies to players with 10 years experience, five consecutively with the same club.
Earlier Friday, the New York Post reported that the Mets and Red Sox had talked Thursday about a trade for Ramirez, last year's World Series MVP.
The Mets have been eying J.T. Snow as a potential replacement for an underperforming Doug Mientkiewicz.
Snow would like to stay put, though, and not just through the season.
"I'd like to retire as a Giant," he said Thursday. "I'd like to play one more here at least. I'll be 38. The (baseball) labor deal is up after next year. I've already been through two long, drawn-out things, and I don't want to go through another one."
A year ago, Snow said he wanted to return for 2005 knowing he might share first base with Pedro Feliz. Instead he has platooned with rookie Lance Niekro, who could be the everyday first baseman next year. Asked if he would be satisfied backing up Niekro, Snow said, "At this point in my career I probably would be."
At the same time, Snow will be a free agent this winter and would listen to teams recruiting him as an everyday player.
The Alfonso Soriano talks heated up yesterday, and at one point Soriano got a call from his agent telling him to pack his bags because he was headed to the Mets.
Moments later, a person who spoke with Soriano said the Rangers' second baseman got another call telling him to hold off because the deal had hit a snag. A Mets official called a Soriano deal "a long shot," and Rangers owner Tom Hicks told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he didn't intend to deal Soriano.
But in spite of those public denials, which could be smoke screens designed to improve the teams' negotiating positions, it seemed clearer than ever that the Mets were working hard to get Soriano and the Rangers had decided to move him.
Two baseball officials close to the talks said discussions yesterday focused on Mets right-hander Aaron Heilman and Double-A Binghampton right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, but that the Mets might prefer to deal right-hander Victor Zambrano rather than Heilman.
Mets GM Omar Minaya and the rest of the front office is gathering in New York today for meetings that will last through the weekend, setting up a "war room" of sorts in advance of Sunday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
The Rangers' initial asking price for Alfonso Soriano, understandably high, was said by a person familiar with the trade talks to be Mike Cameron, resurrected reliever Aaron Heilman and a minor-league jewel, outfielder Lastings Milledge or righthander Yusmeiro Petit.
Talks have reportedly stalled as the Mets believe the price is a little steep.
Omar Minaya long has coveted Rangers second baseman Alfonso Soriano, but such an acquisition looks too costly for the Mets.
A high-ranking official familiar with the talks called a deal for the ex-Yankee "increasingly doubtful." It's possible the Mets, while burning up the phone lines, won't make any major renovations by Sunday night's trading deadline.
The Mets are looking for upgrades at first base, second base and in the bullpen, and obstacles exist at each position.
The names most often mentioned in relief are closers Danys Baez of Tampa Bay and Jose Mesa of Pittsburgh. However, Devil Rays GM Chuck LaMar notoriously drives tough bargains. Plus, deputy GM Jim Duquette went on record last month, saying Devil Rays doctors "weren't straightforward with us" regarding the condition of Victor Zambrano's elbow at the time of last July's Scott Kazmir trade.
As for the Pirates, the Mets have talked about Mesa, according to one NL source, but more recently the conversations have turned to lefty-hitting first baseman Daryle Ward (.258, 11 HR, 53 RBI).
The Mets had been interested in Pittsburgh southpaws Mike Gonzalez and John Grabow, but Gonzalez is on the disabled list with an injured left knee that has sidelined him since June 22 and the Pirates don't seem intent on parting with either, anyway. The players most likely to be dealt from Pittsburgh are outfielder Matt Lawton, the former Met, and pitcher Mark Redman, neither of whom is a fit.
The Mets need to address first base now or come winter, with the team highly unlikely to pick up Doug Mientkiewicz's $3.75 million option. Yet short of Lyle Overbay, whom Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin has said won't be dealt until the winter - if at all - the other first basemen available have unattractive, big contracts like those of Todd Helton (Rockies) and Mike Sweeney (Royals). A Mets insider recently said Cincinnati's Sean Casey hasn't been made available, and he's not a power hitter, anyway.
At second, the Dodgers' Jeff Kent was mentioned in an Internet report.
One major problem the Mets have encountered is a farm system that has failed to impress other teams.
Mets Jul 2005 Archive