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Mets Hot Stove: Of Mets and Manny

Mike SteffanosTuesday, December 6, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

After a slow Monday in Dallas, much of the speculation regarding the Mets involves whether Omar will consummate his desire to bring Manny Ramirez home to Queens.

New York Post: It won't be easy
Mark Hale points out that although the Mets and Red Sox will discuss a Manny trade, there are some things working against it:

By trading for Carlos Delgado, the Mets already have added the type of powerful hitter they craved. Secondly, Ramirez's contract is prohibitive, as he is owed three years and $57 million. And thanks to some of their moves already (i.e., trading Mike Cameron, etc.), the Mets do not necessarily have the type of package that would likely land Ramirez and also satiate Boston's demands.

It also seems apparent that the Red Sox are unwilling to pay any of Manny's exorbitant contract. With Omar pushing hard against the budget he has to work with, that would certainly be a deal breaker unless the Sox relent.

Daily News: Kaz for sale
Adam Rubin also discusses Ramirez in a story that is mainly about Omar's attempts to unload New York's favorite Japanese import. Rubin suggests that if they move Matsui and some of his salary, the money saved can be used for Ramirez. Despite the fact that the Angels have passed on Manny, it seems unlikely that a deal will get done:

Since Minaya sees the lineup as otherwise settled, the Red Sox will have to be modest in their demands in order for Ramirez to become a Met, an insider said. That means Boston brass absorbing a sizable portion of the $57 million owed to the slugger and ideally allowing the Mets to keep prospect Lastings Milledge and pitcher Aaron Heilman. The Red Sox last night were trying to portray a Ramirez exit as becoming more unlikely because they don't figure to get fair value in a trade.

According to Rubin, Mark Grudzielanek would settle for a back-loaded contract to come here, but that wouldn't really make sense as the Mets already have a significant financial obligation to older players over the next few years, and should probably avoid any more of that, if possible.

Also in the Daily News: Now how about the future?
John Harper has an interesting story in the News about Omar. While crediting Minaya for revitalizing the Mets, Harper challenges him to keep improving the team without overpaying to do it. Harper brings up questions that we all have about Omar's tenure in Montreal:

Nobody hailed Minaya as a genius for the trades he made in Montreal, when he was just another low-budget GM. He gave up Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee, both stars for the Indians now, in a deal for Bartolo Colon, and Carl Pavano for Cliff Floyd. He traded Floyd to the Red Sox a few weeks later as the Expos faded from wild-card contention.

Minaya says the deals were motivated at the time by the possibility the Expos could be contracted, since he was trying to win at the time without much regard for the future.

Surely there's some truth to that, but he also practically gave away reliever Guillermo Mota, dealing him for Matt Herges, after Mota had shown promise in the big leagues. And he also dealt future NL Rookie of the Year Jason Bay to the Mets for a fringe player, infielder Lou Collier.

I know that I've heard from an Expos/Nationals fan who believes the best thing that happened to their franchise was when Omar Minaya left. As much respect as I have for him for as hard as he has worked and what he has accomplished, deals like the Lo Duca trade make me wonder if Omar is the type of GM that will be good for this team in the long term. Perhaps if he finds a way to get some talent back into the farm system and to keep this team from getting too old and the salary structure from becoming a straight-jacket, I'll relax a little. But I agree that he has something still to prove.

Newark Star-Ledger: Pudge?
Dan Graziano and Ed Price bring us the less than thrilling news that recovering steroid user Ivan Rodriguez, the incredible shrinking catcher, was the object of trade discussions over the weekend. Lo Duca is looking a little better now.

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