|Soriano, Wagner, Baez & Burnett rumors continue to swirl
||Thu, 28 July 2005 07:37
Registered: July 2005
Mets working hard to get Soriano |
Thursday, July 28, 2005
BY DAN GRAZIANO
NEW YORK -- The Alfonso Soriano talks heated up yesterday, and at one point Soriano got a call from his agent telling him to pack his bags because he was headed to the Mets.
Moments later, a person who spoke with Soriano said the Rangers' second baseman got another call telling him to hold off because the deal had hit a snag. A Mets official called a Soriano deal "a long shot," and Rangers owner Tom Hicks told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he didn't intend to deal Soriano.
But in spite of those public denials, which could be smoke screens designed to improve the teams' negotiating positions, it seemed clearer than ever that the Mets were working hard to get Soriano and the Rangers had decided to move him.
Two baseball officials close to the talks said discussions yesterday focused on Mets right-hander Aaron Heilman and Double-A Binghampton right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, but that the Mets might prefer to deal right-hander Victor Zambrano rather than Heilman.
Mets GM Omar Minaya and the rest of the front office is gathering in New York today for meetings that will last through the weekend, setting up a "war room" of sorts in advance of Sunday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
The Mets are also in talks with the Pirates about acquiring closer Jose Mesa to strengthen the back of their bullpen. The Mets' first choice is Tampa Bay's Danys Baez, but he's in high demand. Mesa is the Mets' backup plan, but the Pirates are asking for Heilman, and the Mets may deem that too steep a price.
The Yankees weren't interested in trading for Arizona outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. because of concerns about his bad back. But now that he's been designated for assignment, and they could get him for nothing, they may take another look.
In their scramble for starting pitching, the Yankees recently called the White Sox to ask about former Yankee Orlando Hernandez. Talks ended abruptly when the White Sox asked for relief pitcher Tom Gordon in return.
Both the Yankees and Mets are likely to take a look at reliever Ricky Bottalico, who was designated for assignment by Milwaukee yesterday.
The Phillies are one of the teams trying to get Baez, and the reason is they believe they can trade closer Billy Wagner for a starting pitcher. Both the Red Sox and White Sox have indicated to Philadelphia they might be interested in sending A.J. Burnett there in exchange for Wagner if they could get Burnett from the Marlins.
The Red Sox are telling people they have no plans to trade right-hander Bronson Arroyo, in spite of earlier talks that centered on him going to Florida as part of a Burnett deal.
[Updated on: Thu, 28 July 2005 07:37]