Mets flirt with Zito, Suppan for holidays

A contingent of Mets executives traveled to Los Angeles to meet with agent Scott Boras about free agent left-hander Barry Zito, and while on the West Coast they also met with free agent Jeff Suppan.

Chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, general manager Omar Minaya, Tony Bernazard and John Ricco met with Boras for two days at the agent's office.

The Mets are thinking five years and $73 million for Zito, which is what they were prepared to give Roy Oswalt had they made a trade this summer with Houston.

Boras wants six years and a salary reportedly in the range of $100 million.

Suppan has a four-year contract offer from Milwaukee at a reported $10 million a season.

The Mets' sudden interest in Suppan can be interpreted in two ways: 1) as a precaution in case the Zito negotiations fall through, or 2) as leverage in the talks as a way of keeping the price down.

Suppan's reported offer is comparable to the contracts given to free agents Ted Lilly and Gil Meche this winter.


  • Mets GM Omar Minaya had two days of meetings with agent Scott Boras regarding LHP Barry Zito. The Mets' parameters appear to be five years and $73 million, while Boras wants six years at around $100 million.

  • RHP Jeff Suppan, who beat the Mets twice in the NL Championship Series with St. Louis, is now on the Mets' radar. He would represent a considerably smaller financial commitment than LHP Barry Zito.

  • Former Mets 2B Wally Backman was hired as manager of the South Georgia Peanuts, a team in the independent South Coast League.

  • Former Mets INF Chris Woodward signed a one-year deal with the Braves, where he could replace Marcus Giles at second base. Giles wasn't tendered a contract by the Braves, and he signed as a free agent with the Padres.

  • RHP Clint Nageotte, who pitched briefly each of the past three seasons with the Mariners, accepted a deal to come to camp with the Mets as a non-roster player.

    BY THE NUMBERS: $3.8 million -- The Mets' average salary in 2006, fourth highest in the major leagues.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "That certainly would be the kind of guy you need to anchor your rotation for a number of years. It certainly would be a big pickup, and would certainly serve the purpose of getting the front end of the rotation younger." -- LHP Tom Glavine on the Mets' pursuit of free agent LHP Barry Zito.

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