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Mets Hot Stove: Sunday Brunch at Café Omar

Mike SteffanosSunday, November 27, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

We take a look at some of the morning's news items, including the fallout from the B.J. Ryan deal and speculation on who the Mets might pursue next.

Newsday: John Heyman says Omar still wants Manny
John Heyman reports that Omar Minaya will actively pursue Manny Ramirez at the winter meetings. The Red Sox have agreed to talk, and Heyman quotes a source that Omar told, "I'm going for it."

Heyman also shares some interesting morsels about new Met Carlos Delgado. Apparently one of Delgado's first questions upon talking to the Mets was to ask if he was going to be shipped to Boston in a Manny deal. Heyman feels that Delgado is the type of player that will thrive here, which I'm sure all Mets fans hope is the case.

Heyman also reports that the Mets aren't interested in Alfonso Soriano, primarily because Willie Randolph is all too aware of Soriano's flaws. This is starting to become quite the comedy, as one respected journalist tells us that there is no chance that the Mets will still pursue Ramirez while another tells us that Omar still has moist panties over the guy. In one place you here Willie would love to have Soriano and the Mets are pursuing him, in another you hear the opposite. Welcome to the new reality of hot stove baseball, where almost anyone can find something in print that supports their opinion.

For what it's worth, to me the same financial considerations that make a Manny deal difficult for the Mets now argue against making this deal at all. I'm sure Omar can move enough salary to make it possible, but that salary is going to be an albatross around the Mets' neck for the next 3 years -- longer if they extend the contract to get him here. It will seriously hinder their ability to make other deals. As for Soriano, to me you can get by with a good offense/bad defense second baseman in a hitter's park like Texas, or when you have a pitching staff that misses a lot of bats. Neither is the case here. I think he will hurt the Mets in the field, and if they want to keep him they will have to tie up a lot of money in his contract.

Daily News: Braves talking to Wagner
Bill Madden and Anthony McCarron report that Atlanta GM John Schuerholz will be meeting with Billy Wagner's agent this week. (C'mon -- you didn't really think signing Wagner would be a slam dunk, did you?) They could use some of the money made available to them when Larry Jones restructured his contract. It still seems unlikely they would go as high as it will take to land Wagner, but it does muddy things up a little.

Madden and McCarron also report that the Mets are pursuing the incredibly mediocre Jose Valentin for a utility spot on the roster. I'm getting tingly over this...

New York Post: The fallout from the Wagner signing
Michael Morrissey reports on the increased leverage given to Wagner and his agent by Ryan's historic deal with the Jays. It seems more likely that Wagner might receive an attainable fifth year option, and certainly ups the money that will be required. Plus, agent Bean Stringfellow characterized the Phillies latest offer as "very competitive" with what the Mets offered. Expect this to drag on now well into December, unless someone completely blows Wagner away in a similar manner to what the Blue Jays did with Ryan.

Morrissey also reports that the Mets have "cooled" on signing Rafael Furcal, and have some interest in 2B Mark Grudzielanek. I find it extremely unlikely that the Mets will do anything at 2B until the closer and catcher slots are filled.

Buster Olney: The Jays' side of the deal
On ESPN.com, Buster Olney looks at the Ryan deal from the Blue Jays' point of view, pointing out that the Jays are in the same place the Mets were last winter -- needing to overpay to make a splash and convince other free agents like A.J. Burnett that they are serious. (Hey, are they only going after pitchers that use initials instead of a first name?)

They could have waited for Wagner to sign and then watch someone else scoop up Ryan, but instead they shook up baseball. It sucks if you're a Mets fan, but I can't really blame them. They're taking a risk, too. If Ryan blows up that contract will kill them.

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