Boras clients all over Mets' radar

The general manager's meetings usually resemble a business cocktail hour: lots of small talk and chit-chat, mixed with innuendo about what organizations may be able to do with each other in the future. <P> This year's meetings in Key Biscayne, Fla. have not proved much different, although new Mets GM Omar Minaya has used the occasion to step the meet-and-greet to the next level.

Minaya and assistant GM Jim Duquette met with super-agent Scott Boras, the big fish in the not-so-small pond, on Thursday. Even though the Mets are considered long shots to land Boras' top prize, free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, the team and Boras still may be able to do significant business this winter.

The Mets are without a right fielder and could deal left fielder Cliff Floyd by the time bats and balls are dusted off, making it little surprise that outfielders J.D. Drew and Magglio Ordonez have blipped up on the Mets' radar.

Drew is something of a new name around the Mets' circles, but it's impossible to ignore the outstanding season he had in 2004 for the Atlanta Braves. The lefty-swinging 28-year-old produced the best power numbers of his career for Atlanta, slugging 31 homers and driving in 93 runs, batting .305 in the process.

Perhaps most impressively, Drew was a reliable on-base producer: when he wasn't smacking the ball around the ballpark, he was trotting down to first base, which he did a career-high 118 times.

However, Drew also whiffed 116 times – perhaps not a great mix in a lineup that already includes strikeout-prone hitters Mike Cameron and Kaz Matsui.

Ordonez is less of a stranger to the Mets' plans, and he told the New York Post recently that he'd welcome a chance to talk turkey with the team. A knee injury knocked Ordonez out of commission for all but 52 games in the 2004 season, but he has said that his health is moving close to 100 percent thanks to strenuous off-season workouts.

Before the Mets can begin attacking any of Boras' big three, however, the team must consider how to proceed with two of their starting pitchers from last season. Both Kris Benson and Al Leiter will be eligible to speak with other clubs shortly, and it's unlikely that the Mets will have executed a pact with either hurler by that time.

The Mets will not pick up Leiter's $10 million option for 2005, instead paying him a $2 million buyout, and have been said to be interested in hammering out a $4 million contract for next season.

As for Benson, he repeatedly said during the season that he would like to stay in New York, but the Mets were slow to act. Two newspapers reported Friday that the Mets have offered the right-hander a three-year, $21 million deal, but the hurler is looking for a slight increase on those numbers.

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