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Mets Hot Stove: Manny, Manny, Manny...

Mike SteffanosTuesday, November 8, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

The General Mangers are meeting in Palm Springs, and once again we are getting conflicting versions of the likelihood of Manny Ramirez wearing a New York Met uniform next season. Even in today's papers:

Boston Herald -- Michael Silverman, in an article titled: Manny-to-Mets trade is alive quotes a "baseball source" as saying, "the Mets have received indication that reports of Ramirez not wanting to play too close to his hometown may have been a smokescreen aimed at diverting attention from the Mets' pursuit." I'm not quite sure here why Manny or his representatives would feel the need to "divert attention from the Mets' pursuit." Is this some sort of clandestine operation? At any rate, Silverman goes on to say that the Mets would be offering Mike Cameron and two of the following: Lastings Milledge, Yusmeiro Petit, and Aaron Heilman. (Thanks to MetsBlog for the link to this article.)

New York Post -- Mark Hale points out the obstacles to a Manny Ramirez trade to the Mets:

a baseball official that's familiar with Ramirez's family got the indication that Ramirez has significant concerns about coming to Shea because of the distraction of having his family in New York. Ramirez, of course, went to high school in The Bronx.

Hale quotes a "major league executive":
"I think Theo's departure increases the chances that Manny goes nowhere."

Hale also quotes that same executive:
"To motivate the Red Sox to trade Manny is going to take more than just salary relief."

Which, of course, is an answer to many out there that feel the Mets can get Manny for a second-level type package because the Red Sox are so eager to dump his salary.

Daily News -- In a story by Bill Madden and Roger Rubin that primarily concerned the buzz that Mike Cameron wants to play CF again:

Cameron, who will be 33 next season, was to go to Boston last July in one version of a three-team deal for Manny Ramirez that included Tampa Bay; Mets officials privately have conceded the revival of such trade discussions is remote, since Ramirez has asked for a trade to either the Angels or Indians.

Whether you are someone like me, who doesn't want to see the Mets trade for Manny, or someone that believes that Manny can be the one major piece that propels the Mets to a World Series, you can find something out there to give you hope or depress you.

I've spent a lot of words in this space detailing why I think Manny could be a huge mistake for the Mets. To just hit the highlights:

Huge salary means loss of flexibility to make moves down the road. Pedro and Beltran are making huge money. Down the road you will have to pay David Wright and Jose Reyes. The Mets can handle Manny's salary right now, no doubt, but they're going to run into problems down the road with flexibility, especially if they manage to land Wagner by offering him the extra year. A shopping spree is fun, but at some point you have to pay for it.

Outfield defense. Manny gets by in Boston's tiny left field, but he's going to look awfully ugly at times in Shea. If the Angels or Cleveland pick up Manny they will be able to use him as a DH, the Mets aren't going to have that luxury. And with a pitching staff that doesn't strike out many batters and relies on Mets fielders, Manny is going to give back some runs out there.

Age. He'll be 34 next year. He's fat. Players in better shape than Manny start to decline at this age, and are more prone to injury. He'll be 37 the last year of his current contract, and there is talk that the Mets would have to extend that contract by a year to convince Manny to come to New York. Be careful of what you are paying $20 million a year for, by the end of this contract you might be facing a Mo Vaughan situation.

Sometimes when I see the eagerness of some Met fans to get Manny, I feel like the Grinch when I speak against it. And there are some people who I respect, in the Mets blogging community and elsewhere, that are as much in favor of this move as I am against it. To me, to justify this move you have to convince me that Manny is the one remaining piece of the puzzle to get the Mets to the World Series as Gary Carter was back in the 1980s. I still think the Mets lack the kind of dominant starting pitching to accomplish this, other than Pedro (and we're not sure exactly what he will give us next year), who else on the staff could dominate a post season game; Glavine... Benson... ?

You have a kid in Lastings Millege who looks more and more like the real thing. On top of all the other pitfalls of Manny already mentioned, you're probably going to give him up in this deal. To me, the only way you do this is for a championship, and I just don't see it. This team has faltered too many times over the years because it lacked the patience to build in a sensible manner. I believe they are in danger of doing this again.

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