Report: Cameron "definitely" to be traded

With more than a month to go until Opening Day, the Mets still have time to pull off a last minute switch in their outfield involving Mike Cameron, who has been rumored to be on the trading block for weeks. <P> That may wind up being reality sooner rather than later, as the <I>New York Post</I> reported Monday that Cameron "definitely" will be traded before the beginning of the season.

Cameron, who is due to report to spring training camp today, was the center of a mini-controversy last month when the Mets signed centerfielder Carlos Beltran to a seven-year, $119 million contract, bumping Cameron – a two-time Gold Glove Award winner who led the club with 30 home runs last year – to right field for the 2005 season.

Cameron earlier gave his blessing to the pursuit of Beltran, saying that if the Mets could land the hero of last year's National League playoffs to help the club, he'd be amenable.

However, once the signing actually came to pass, Cameron expressed reservations about the move and was not clear regarding whether he'd rather play right field for the Mets or center field elsewhere.

"Right now, I'll kind of do what I can to help the team. It's going to be a transition," Cameron said on a conference call last month. "That's the plan right now, to see what happens and kind of go with it. I've been going through a lot of mixed emotions."

The Mets have reportedly been exploring trades involving Cameron for weeks. A potential three-way trade that would have sent Cameron to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Eric Byrnes appears to be on its last legs.

The Mets could further explore deals with the Seattle Mariners – where Cameron played from 2000 through 2003 – or the Houston Astros, who lost Beltran to the Mets. Such a deal would likely have to net the Mets a capable right fielder to play alongside Beltran in center and Cliff Floyd in left, unless the team is to start rookie Victor Diaz in New York in April.

The Mets would prefer to see Diaz accumulate some more Triple-A seasoning before exposing him to big league pitching full-time, however.

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