Mets trying to make late waves

<b>ANAHEIM, Calif. –</b> The Mets might not leave town without a trip to the podium after all. <br><br> Rumors sparked late Sunday that the Mets were discussing a trade for Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez, and on Monday, it appeared that the Mets were also coming closer to signing free agent Pedro Martinez.

GM Omar Minaya said that he expects his chances of making a significant announcement before the Mets board a 2 p.m. flight out of Anaheim are "less than 50 percent," but whether a deal breaks here or in New York, the Mets now appear on the brink of making a move.

"I get the sense some of the things we worked on the last couple of days may come to fruition," Minaya said.

The Mets had been linked to Ramirez earlier in the offseason, but presented with a gaping hole in right field that doesn't appear close to being filled, a rumor floated around the Marriott hotel lobby that the Mets would part with Mike Piazza to land him.

Minaya downplayed those reports, and it is believed that Piazza would not be a major part of a potential Ramirez trade. Cliff Floyd is a far more likely option to return to Boston if a trade were to go down, although the $80 million remaining on Ramirez's contract with the Red Sox is a huge stumbling block.

Interestingly, speaking in general terms, Minaya didn't try to temper the discussion regarding taking on a large-money deal.

"You're not going to get a good player unless you take on a long-term contract," Minaya said. "If you want a good player, you've got to pay for it."

Meanwhile, there was a spike in discussion that the Mets may finally be moving closer to prying Martinez from the Red Sox.

That may be directly related to Minaya's upcoming ultimatum to Martinez's agent, Fernando Cuza, on whether or not the two sides have a deal. Negotiations lagged most of the weekend and Minaya said he would soon have to ask Cuza whether the two sides had a deal or not.
  • The agent for Mike Piazza, Dan Lozano, said that the Mets have told his client to "put away the first baseman's mitt," likely meaning the infield experiment is over.

    "Mike's the ultimate team player," Lozano said. "He'll do whatever it takes and whatever they ask him to do. But Mike definitely feels more comfortable behind the dish."


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