Trade winds: Mets eye Soriano

The Mets have been closely monitoring the Texas Rangers' Alfonso Soriano, according to published reports, eyeing the second baseman as Sunday's non-waiver trading deadline draws nearer.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Rangers are having "serious" discussions with the Mets regarding Soriano, who homered and had three hits in a 4-2 win Monday at Baltimore.

Hitting .284 with 25 home runs and 68 RBI this year, the 29-year-old Soriano could provide the power bat the Mets have been looking to supplement the heart of their order with.

His 25 home runs rank fourth in the American League entering Tuesday's action, but of note is how much of Soriano's damage has been done at hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field – on the road, Soriano is hitting just .242 with seven homers and 20 RBI, compared to .322 at home.

If the Mets are to be serious players for Soriano, it will be costly. According to reports, the Rangers have already asked for Double-A outfielder Lastings Milledge, the organization's top prospect, and Double-A righthander Yusmeiro Petit may not be far off in negotiations.

Victor Zambrano and Aaron Heilman could also provide intriguing trade bait for Texas (49-49), which appears to be slipping out of the AL Wild Card race.

However, the Star-Telegram reported Tuesday that the Mets do not appear willing to give up anything close to what the Rangers desire. Mets GM Omar Minaya has said that he'll guard his top prospects in dealings.

With the Mets – now four games behind the first-place Nationals and Braves following Monday's 5-3 loss to the Rockies – also looking for improvement at first base and in the bullpen, other deals could be more likely.

The New York Daily News mentions Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jose Mesa as one possibility, although the newspaper reports the club's conversations have since turned to concern first baseman Daryle Ward (.258, 11 HR, 53 RBI).

In other relief talks, Newsday mentions that the Mets are considering Seattle Mariners lefthander Ron Villone (2-3, 2.35 ERA in 48 appearances).

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