With Francisco Rodriguez in the fold, Omar Minaya has cleared the first hurdle this off-season. The next question is, what does he do next?
I would hope that his next signing or transaction would be for a starting pitcher. I'm more worried about the two gaping holes at the back of the Mets rotation as opposed to who is manning left field when we already have people that can do a semi-decent job out there.
Everyone keeps talking about Jon Garland being a fallback plan for the Mets. Why? He's not going to be the ace of your staff, so you can live with his ERA over 4.00 every year. Plus, he eats innings, logging 190 IP or more every year since 2002. The Mets may need to pay him a little more than they wish, but they can. Garland is actually near the top of my wish list for starting pitchers for the team to acquire.
Minaya seems infatuated with Raul Ibanez, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being the next New York Met. I don't necesarily hate Ibanez, but in no way would I get excited about him playing in left next year. Yes, that would move Fernando Tatis back to the bench, but that would also force Daniel Murphy either to the bench as well, or back to the minors where he can at least get regular playing time.
The Mets continue to pursue Huston Street, though it seems that Aaron Heilman may not be included in a possible deal for the ex-A's closer. The team wants a set-up man who can also fill in at closer if need be. Street would be an excellent addition to the team, but it's unknown what the Mets would have to give up.
They had offered Heilman and Pedro Feliciano, but when the Rockies called back, Minaya had changed his mind. The Rox just signed lefty Alan Embree, so their need for Feliciano is probably diminished.
Back to the starting pitching market, I keep hearing conflicting reports about Derek Lowe. First the team is courting him, then he's too expensive and then back to "the Mets are considering Lowe." I think he's too expensive for the type of pitcher he is, and looking at what the Mets need, he may not be the best option.
Ken Davidoff believes the Mets should sign Oliver Perez. I wouldn't mind that. We know what he's capable of, but Scott Boras is going to demand the bank and more for his client and I think the Mets are unwilling to pay that much for the inconsistency of Perez.
Pedro Martinez's name continues to be brought up, but as I wrote last night, I believe the team is attempting to drum up buzz about it as an act of good faith.
Oh, and don't count on Manny Ramirez coming to the Mets, as I hinted at in Minaya's notebook. I give it about a 2 percent chance of happening.