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Mets Hot Stove: Rumors, Rumors, Rumors...

Mike SteffanosWednesday, December 7, 2005
By Mike Steffanos

The dailies are full of rumor and speculation, but nothing solid. Something is very well could happen, and we'll all be paying attention today. I'll pass along a couple of items of interest for now:

Bergen Record: Zito "open to" New York
Steve Popper answers an important question for Mets fans:

According to a person close to Zito, the 2002 Cy Young Award winner likes New York and would be open to signing a contract extension with the Mets if a deal could be completed. The Mets would require a window to extend Zito's contract beyond the 2006 season if they were to pull the trigger on a deal, something that the A's and Zito's agent Arn Tellem are believed to be open to.

Obviously it would make little sense to give up what would be required to bring Zito to New York for a one-year rental. Steve Popper also gives us something to think about, though, noting that while Zito recorded a 47-17 record in his first three years, he's only 39-36 since then. I always tend to worry about those guys like Dwight Gooden who have a lot of success early in their career -- they often tend to flatten out later on. Of course, with Gooden there were other problems.

I think, given my choice, I'd prefer Vazquez, who the Mets would have to give up much less for.

Daily News: The Little Things
Adam Rubin reports that Omar Minaya is working on smaller moves, too, specifically for the bench and middle relief. He also hints that he would give up Lastings Milledge for a top line starter, and refuted those who believe the farm system has been depleted:

He disputed any suggestion the minor-league system had been depleted by his trades with the Marlins, mentioning pitchers Brian Bannister, unsigned 2005 first-round pick Mike Pelfrey, 2004 first rounder Philip Humber (who should be back in mid-'06 because of Tommy John surgery) and Cuban defector Alay Soler. He added that the Mets had internally rated other pitchers higher than those shipped to the Marlins - Gaby Hernandez and Yusmeiro Petit.

This is a farm system that already lacked depth in talent going into this off-season. While I believe Omar that the Mets have pitchers that are rated higher than Petit and Hernandez, the point is that there weren't very many of any real value at all, now there are 2 less. You trade Milledge and another prospect or two for Zito, and the system is going to look like a wasteland, with isolated talent scattered sparsely through it. The Mets aren't going to find much help in their system for quite a while.

Okay, everyone take a breath. When something happens we'll be back.

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