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Mets Hot Stove: Give Me a Break

Mike SteffanosTuesday, December 13, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

In a major development, Omar Minaya has announced that he has traded away every starting pitcher and reliever on the team. In return, the Mets have received every available productive bat, including Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez, and Alfonso Soriano. To those that questioned the wisdom of these moves, an obviously intoxicated Minaya responded by throwing up and passing out...

Daily News: Hope Manny can pitch
Adam Rubin reports on a new way to possible get Manny Ramirez to Shea: an "outside the box" three-way deal involving the Orioles and Miguel Tejada with the Mets and Sox. As Rubin sees it, the deal might look something like this:

The Mets and Orioles discussed a Kris Benson-for-Jorge Julio swap earlier this offseason, while the Red Sox reportedly have offered Ramirez for Tejada - giving at least some framework for a potential three-way deal. But the Mets would have to offer substantially more than Benson to land Ramirez.

A deal would potentially have to include center field prospect Lastings Milledge and Aaron Heilman. While Heilman has drawn widespread interest from other clubs, parting with him would further hurt a Mets bullpen that already has lost setup man Roberto Hernandez.

Really, you think this deal might hurt the Mets bullpen? Now we're moving our number 3 starter and our eighth inning guy for only Manny. In the immortal words of Marty Nobel, "Deal Heilman, and the 'pen will be so thin, it will have no other side." If Omar makes this deal, he's not thinking outside of the box, he's smoking crack. And I don't believe there is anything to this at all, it's just a slow news day.

In other news, Rubin reports that Antonio Alfonseca's agent has contacted the Mets regarding his client's desire to possibly pitch for them. I guess you'd have to consider him, but other than the obligatory one good year with the Braves 2 years ago he just hasn't pitched that great, and he won't come all that cheap. Also, Javier Vazquez might be heading to the White Sox. I know Omar was interested, but if Arizona wants too much in return he is right to say, "pass."

New York Post: The Bensons
Michael Morrissey reports on the desire of both Kris Benson and his wife Anna to remain in New York. Anna has personally called Jeff Wilpon to straighten out any "misunderstandings" over her recent idiotic comments. Mets team officials see Anna as a "distraction"; I'm not quite sure to whom, as Kris seems to be used to her and the rest of the team could probably care less. Morrissey quotes Kris Benson on his hopes of remaining a Met:

I understand the business and the rumors and Omar's desire to put together a winning team. I hope I'm part of it. They had told me I would be a part of a [contending] team [when he signed last November]. It's kind of frustrating to be so immediately put into trade talks a year-and-a-half later. In Pittsburgh, I almost embraced the fact I could go to another team and start new. It's a little bit more frustrating when you enjoy where you're at.

For what it's worth, Kris Benson is a pretty good starting pitcher with a reasonable contract, who has proven that he can pitch in New York in pressure games. I understand Omar wants to dump his salary to get someone else. If it brings in a bullpen arm that can really help this team, then at least that's something. Some of these rumors have been God-awful, though. Unless something comes along that really makes sense, I wouldn't mind seeing what Benson can do in 2006 with a boatload of incentive to perform. Maybe I'm in the minority in this opinion.

But whatever happens, please cut the Anna bullshit. This is New York, not Iowa -- Anna is an excuse to trade Kris, not a reason.

New York Times: No strike in 2007?
Murray Chass reports that there is hope that MLB might avoid a work stoppage when the collective bargaining agreement expires after next season, at least if you go by what the agents are doing:

In the past, with the threat of a strike or a lockout in mind, agents had negotiated lower salaries in multiyear contracts for the seasons that they felt might be in jeopardy because of a work stoppage. The less money allocated, the agents reasoned, the less money a player could lose.

But agents have not followed that pattern this off-season. The agreement expires in 53 weeks - Dec. 19, 2006 - which ostensibly makes the 2007 season vulnerable. Yet none of the approximately 25 multiyear contracts that players have signed over the past several weeks acknowledge that vulnerability.

Possible reasons for optimism: baseball is enjoying an excellent economic climate, and, thanks to Congress, the thorny issue of drug testing has already been addressed. Plus, the 2002 agreement was reached without a lockout/strike, so that provides some positive momentum. We can only hope.

Newsday: Ticket prices going up
Ken Davidoff and John Heyman are reporting that ticket prices for Mets games will rise an average of 7% for next season. Not really a shock, is it?

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