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Hot Stove Starts Heating Up for the Mets

Mike SteffanosTuesday, November 1, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

After days of no news, speculation or recycled rumors, there was a lot of good stuff out there today:

MiLB.com: Alay Soler Finally Arrives
Signed by the Mets over a year ago, this 26-year-old Cuban pitcher was supposed to provide help to the big club fairly quickly. Instead, he has spent all this time in the Dominican Republic with Visa problems that kept him out of the country. I guess it remains to be seen how much help he might be, but he'll pitch in the Mets' system to start the year and might possibly be called up at some point if he does well.

Mets.com: "Mets prepare to launch pursuit of Furcal"
Marty Noble reports that the Mets are serious about pursuing Rafael Furcal for the second base job. Apparently, Furcal told some Met players that he would really be willing to move to second to come to the Mets. You can number me among the skeptics who believe this is just a ploy on Furcal's part to drive his price up with other teams. I just can't by one of the best shortstops in the game moving to 2B if someone is willing to pay him a lot of money and keep him at SS. It is an intriguing thought, though, with 2 dynamic speedsters at the top of the order.

Noble also reports the unsurprising news that the Mets have picked up Trachsel's option for 2006 while passing on Looper and Mientkiewicz. Minaya did say that he would negotiate with Looper's agent for a smaller contract and a set-up role. You have to believe someone out there will sign Looper as a closer and pay him accordingly.

Daily News: More Furcal
Adam Rubin also reports on Furcal, quoting Furcal's agent that Furcal would play second for the Mets, though he would "prefer" to stay at shortstop. He also imparts the heartbreaking news for Met fans that Jose Offerman has filed for free agency.

New York Post: Bengie Molina
Mark Hale reports that the Mets have expressed interest to Molina's agent. No surprise here, nor is it surprising that Molina would "consider" the Mets -- again, I think he is more likely to use the Mets to drive his price up than actually come here. Molina is a solid catcher, but he's spent his whole career in Anaheim, and in the American League.

New York Times: Will he stay or will he go?
This is from yesterday, but Ben Shpigel had a really nice article on top prospect Lastings Milledge.

Mets Daily
If, like me, you are a fan of John Strubel's MetsDaily.com web site you've noticed that the site has been down. I emailed John Strubel and asked if it was gone for good. He replied to me that the site will be back after the first of the year with "more technology, better features, interviews, writing and Mets news." Good to hear.

MLB.com: Epstein Shocker
Finally, I know this isn't a Mets story, but this is unbelievable. Theo Epstein and the Red Sox can't reach a deal. What a difference from a year ago in Boston...

It's good to start having some real things to sink our teeth into, although nothing of any real consequence will happen for a while. The most intriguing thing to me is Furcal. He's been around a while, but he's only 28 years old. I repeat that I don't think he'll really come here, but if he did, I think he could solidify this lineup as much as anyone. He doesn't walk enough for a guy with his speed, but he's better than Reyes. He's lead off, Reyes would bat second, and I would love to be batting in the middle of the Mets' order next year when those 2 get on.

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