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Mets Hot Stove: Mets Kicking Lo Duca's Tires

Mike SteffanosSunday, December 4, 2005
By Mike Steffanos


The Mets are reportedly considering another purchase from the south Florida fire sale:

New York Times: Paul Lo Duca
Ben Shpigel is reporting that the Mets are in "very serious" discussions with the Marlins about acquiring catcher Paul Lo Duca. Lo Duca, who will be 34 next season, is a good offensive catcher, but has trouble throwing out base stealers. (Sound familiar?) Last season Lo Duca threw out 29 of 118 attempted base stealers, or about 24.6%. In contrast, Bengie Molina threw out 20 of 64 (31.3%) and Ramon Hernandez threw out 18 of 52 (34.6%).

It's been speculated for a while that the two free agent catchers might be pricing themselves out of the Mets plan. Lo Duca just signed a 3 year, $18 million contract with the Marlins going into this season. He will make $6.25 million in 2006. He has a history of wearing down deep in the season, and at 34 he's reaching that problematic age for a catcher. Perhaps sharing the job with Ramon Castro would keep him fresher, and with only 2 years left on the contract he wouldn't be a huge gamble. The Mets are getting older in hurry.

As far as who the Mets might trade for Lo Duca, Shpigel speculates:

In cutting payroll, [the Marlins] are searching for young, cheap talent, along the lines of the two midlevel prospects they acquired from Minnesota on Friday in exchange for second baseman Luis Castillo.

The Mets don't have much left for mid-level prospects. Perhaps pitcher Brian Bannister or infielder Jeff Keppinger. I'd hate to see them give up too much of value for Lo Duca, I just don't think they have to overpay to get him. Castro and an inexpensive backup could do the job in a pinch.

Tampa Tribune: Got Aaron Heilman?
Now for something completely ridiculous, Eduardo A. Encina reports on the players the Devil Dogs will be shopping at the winter meetings. It is a seller's market, but Encina seems to think the Rays can wind up with Aaron Heilman for either C Toby Hall or reliever Danys Baez. I wouldn't give up Heilman for either of those guys. Baez is one of the more overrated pitchers out there. I'm sure he will bring back a lot in this crazy market, I just hope Omar says, "pass".

The Metropolitans: Zito Fever
There has been a lot of speculation that the Mets are moving towards acquiring former Cy Young winner Barry Zito from the Oakland A's. Michael from the Metropolitans does his usual great job of showing what it would take to get Zito, and why he doesn't believe it would be worth it.

ESPN: Furcal a Dodger
ESPN is reporting that Rafael Furcal has just signed a 3 year/~$40 million deal with the Dodgers. Guess that Braves discount only goes so far.

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