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Winter Meetings Preview

By Joe DeMayo ~ December 7th, 2008. Filed under: Rumor Mill.

- As NYBD has been reporting, the Mets still prefer Francisco Rodriguez to be the closer, with Brian Fuentes viewed more as option “1a”. Kerry Wood falls behind both of them on the list. It’s hard to believe the Mets won’t just simply get who they want of the bunch. As long as K-Rod accepts a 3 year deal, even if a 4th year option is required, it’s highly likely he is the route the Mets go.

- The Mets are expected to heavily pursue a trade for Colorado’s Huston Street at the meetings. The Mets and Rockies have spoken on numerous occasions this offseason in regards to Street, and according to a source, “both teams think they have the makings of a deal, it’s just a matter of working out that second piece.” The Rockies are looking for a guy like Pedro Feliciano as the second piece while the Mets are thinking a mid-level prospect such as Mike Carp. It is possible the Mets wait it out until the Rockies possibly sign a free agent lefty such as Brian Shouse or Joe Beimel. The rest of the Mets pen is likely to be consumated of low risk signings(think Chad Cordero) or non-tender guys.

- The Mets are looking at the medical records for free agent Nick Punto. As long as everything clears, you can expect a 2 year deal likely to be offered. Punto would come in as a utility man, having played all infield positions, even touching the outfield a couple times in his career. He would also be insurance at second base if Luis Castillo is not dealt. If/when Castillo needs time off, Punto can play, rather than using somebody like Argenis Reyes.

- In regards to Castillo, the Mets are still looking at any avenue to deal him, if they can do so, then expect a big push to be made for Orlando Hudson. Right now I’d rate the chance of a Castillo trade at under 20%.

- As far as the rotation goes, the Mets preference is still Derek Lowe. But if Lowe prices himself out of the Mets range, the Mets will turn to their own free agent Oliver Perez. After Perez you can see consideration to Randy Wolf or Jon Garland. Also don’t be surprised if Omar Minaya pulls a trade out of his hat, think Andy Sonnanstine or Edwin Jackson of Tampa.

- If money in the budget permits it after the pitching is addressed, the Mets will likely give a look to Raul Ibanez, and possibly Bobby Abreu. Though the Mets already appear lefty heavy, if you sign an Abreu or an Ibanez, you can make Ryan Church be in a little more of a platoon with somebody like Fernando Tatis. This could leave Daniel Murphy in a “super-sub” role ala Kevin Mitchell as Mike Silva here at NYBD suggested earlier in the off season.

- The Mets are content with Jon Niese being the favorite for the 5th starter job, they are more likely to dip into the non-tender pool(think Daniel Cabrera as I mentioned in my last mill) to give Niese competition.

- The Yankees appear as of now to be in solid shape when it comes to Sabathia. The Brewers are expected to up their offer, but it might not even hit $120 million, and Sabathia won’t be turning down almost $25 million dollars to stay in Milwaukee. If the Angels miss out on Mark Teixeira they will make a run at Sabathia, and it’s unlikely the Giants will be able to afford Sabathia after signing Edgar Renteria,Bobby Howry and Jeremy Affeldt. So right now the Yankees appear to be in good shape for CC, but the question is, does he want to come to New York at all?

The Yankees are in a similar position as the Angels. If they can’t get Sabathia, they’ll go for Teixeira. This strategy could play against them, as if Teixeira say stays in Anaheim, and the Yankees lose out on Sabathia, where do they turn? Or if Teixeira goes to Boston, Anaheim enters the mix on Sabathia, and I don’t think there’s a way he ends up a Yankee if the Angels are heavy in on him. And with the Braves making a big offer to AJ Burnett, the Yankees would either have to pass on him and turn to Derek Lowe, or severely overpay for Burnett. I’d guess a pursuit of Lowe is more likely than an overpayment of Burnett.

- If the Yankees do not get Teixeira, they very well may look the trade route for first base or center field, looking at Pittsburgh’s Adam LaRoche, or Milwaukee’s Mike Cameron. They could also wait to see if anyone worthwhile is non-tendered, or simply go with Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera in center, with Nick Swisher at first. The benefit of Swisher is, the Yankees could go get a center fielder or a first baseman, and Swisher can play either position just fine.

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Joe DeMayo

Joe DeMayo is a lifelong resident of Connecticut. He has been covering the Mets for almost 6 years. He started off as a writer for RoundingThirdKnight, which eventually in time would turn into SheaBaseball.com where Joey served as the Editor-In-Chief of SheaBaseball until early 2007. Joey then moved on to GothamBaseballMagazine.com where he wrote for a short period of time, and then was brought on as a correspondent and Mets minor league “guru” for NY Baseball Digest. Joe’s claim to fame is that he had the Johan Santana accurately portrayed since day one and broke the Omar Minaya extension. Check out Joe’s Mets minor league reports and Rumor Mill each week at nybaseballdigest.com He also has his own personal blog called St. Lucie to Flushing.

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1 Response to Winter Meetings Preview

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