Minayas Patience Pays off As He Ropes in Bay
Is Delgado A Viable Option for the Mets?

With Bay in Fold, What is Omar's Next Move?

Flushing, New York-- The Mets have landed the big power hitter the team desperately needed in Jason Bay. It is a move that will have a positive effect on a lineup that struggled to hit the long ball a year ago. So now Omar Minaya's task will be to add some pitchers and a catcher which will be no easy task this late in the off-season or at least that's what the "experts" would have you believe.

The focus behind the plate has always been Bengie Molina and it makes sense for both parties to bend a little as Molina wants a 3 year deal while the Mets are offering one year plus an option. The smart thing would be to meet in the middle--2 years say $13 million. Omar told me today that he was very impressed with the development of Josh Thole and that comment was designed to get into the ear of Molina's agent as much as it was to extol the virtues of Thole. I would be shocked if Molina is not in Port St Lucie this coming February because neither party really has any options. Molina provides some pop and will be the kind of gritty player here that Shane Victorino is down the turnpike.

Adding starting pitching will be a bit trickier as the "sure thing" is off the market with John Lackey heading to beantown but the Mets do have some interesting options. My sense is the team would prefer Ben Sheets if his price would come down or if his health was not so up in the air. I also get the sense they prefer Sheets over other "risky" signings like Eric Bedard for instance. The organization is a bit divided over Joel Pinhiero--some feel he would be an excellent addition while others feel his season was a by-product of the work of pitching guru Dave Duncan who has made a career out of these kinds of reclamation projects.

Doug Davis is an innings eater but my feeling is at that price, Omar might prefer Jon Garland who certainly has pitched in pennant races and could provide a good back of the rotation option. But none of these pitchers (aside from a healthy Sheets) gives the Mets what they need most--a #2 to slot in behind Johan Santana.

And so, that brings us to Carlos Zambrano who some say the Cubs are shopping others say they are not. My feeling is they are thinking about it because of their payroll situation. The team currently has close to $125 million committed to salary and that does not include unsigned players like Carlos Marmol and Geovany Soto. Zambrano has a no-trade clause but he would waive it to come to the Mets. This could also provide a chance to unload Luis Castillo because if Minaya is taking Zambrano's $18 million salary he could ask the Cubs to take Castillo's $6.5 million commitment. Of course, the Mets would need to add other players to the deal as well.

It would add $11.5 million to the Met payroll but it would still allow the team to snare Orlando Hudson to replace Castillo. Of course, it would also allow them the luxury of thinking about giving Carlos Delgado a one-year deal especially if Daniel Murphy would be included in my proposed Zambrano deal.

Bay was a great addition but my gut here is Omar is just getting started.
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