Buzz: Manny, Hudson and Wolf

Dylan Hernandez, in a report for the Los Angeles Times, expects that Manny Ramirez will exercise his $20 million option with the Dodgers.

In addition, Hernandez believes that second baseman Orlando Hudson and pitcher Randy Wolf will not return to Los Angeles and will leave as free agents.

…Hudson’s name is obviously going to be mentioned, but once again the Mets are handcuffed with Luis Castillo and the $12 million remaining on his contract…prior to signing with Los Angeles last winter, Hudson did express interest in coming to New York but the Mets were unable to deal Castillo…if they can somehow unload his contract or pay a portion of it in some sort of trade, then I think the Mets will intensely pursue him…

…Wolf is an interesting guy…I thought the Mets should have brought him in last winter for the fifth starter spot, but after the season he had in 2009, he is going to want money that a number 2 pitcher earns…but that shouldn’t stop the Mets from at least paying attention to the market that develops around Wolf…

For more on this, check out Hernandez’s article.

Buzz: Outfielders without Teams

After this afternoon’s proclamation by GM Omar Minaya that the Mets were satisfied with their offense heading into the season and would not be spending significant money on free agents the rest of this off-season, Jon Heyman addressed a number of free agents that have been linked to the team during his appearance on the MLB Network’s Hot Stove Live tonight.

Regarding OF Manny Ramirez, who earlier in the day rejected a one-year $25 million contract from the Dodgers, Heyman said that Los Angeles could soon choose to move on from their hopes of signing the slugging outfielder.

In that case, their plan B could be signing some combination of OF’s Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn, LHP Randy Wolf and 2B Orlando Hudson, whom Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reports is waiting to see whether one of the New York teams can make room for him.

… sounds like the Dodger fans have been treated to the same exact rumors us Mets fans have been hearing all off-season…

Regarding Abreu, Heyman said that despite reports that the Chicago White Sox had submitted a one year, $8 million offer for the former Yankee, he didn’t think it made sense for the ChiSox to sign him.

Outfield: Abreu and Wolf, or Oliver Perez

In a video for ESPN.com, Buster Olney says, “If the Mets do not sign Oliver Perez, if they sign a cheaper starting pitcher, they’ll have money available, and, at that point, they may go look at Bobby Abreu.”

According to Olney, GMs have told him they would not be surprised to see Abreu accept a one-year, worth less than $7 million deal.

the buzz from around baseball suggests LHP Randy Wolf could end up accepting a deal similar to Jon Garland, i.e., one year and $8 million…

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Starting Pitcher: Perez and the Weekend

According Joe DeMayo of NY Baseball Digest, “If the Mets do not have Oliver Perez either locked up, or having made huge strides in negotiations by the end of this coming weekend, they are likely to move on to other options,” according to a league source with knowledge of the team’s plans.

early last week i mentioned there had been a bit of buzz suggesting the Mets had given perez a weekend deadline… i was skeptical of this, because it’s not typically Omar Minaya’s style… either way, i am sure the Mets want an answer soon, because this is getting a little ridiculous now

DeMayo believes the Mets prefer Randy Wolf to Ben Sheets, “by a small margin,” because of concerns about his medical records.

…for what it’s worth, the buzz from baseball suggests sheets will not get a two-year offer from any team, for exactly the reason demayo suggests, because of concerns about sheets back and elbow as much as his shoulder – and the fact that he pitched so many innings last season may actually be hurting his case

The source tells DeMayo a deal with Perez will get done, because, “The Mets love Perez, and Perez loves the Mets. I doubt he would be happy anywhere else.”

DeMayo also provides information on whether the Mets will pursue another bat and a relief pitcher.

Speaking of pitchers…

Pedro Martinez told the Associated Press that he has received various formal offers from a number of clubs.

The Tigers could end up trading one of Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga, Edwin Jackson, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, Zach Miner during the season, according to the Detroit News.

Starting Pitcher: Minaya still interested in Pedro

Mets GM Omar Minaya told the Associated Press yesterday that he is still interested in re-signing Pedro Martinez.

According to the report, “Martinez said over the weekend he had not received offers from any Major League teams, but he said he was training hard for the 2009 season.”

Yesterday, in a report for SI.com, Jon Heyman said Minaya will look to re-sign Martinez, ‘once the Oliver Perez situation is resolved.’

…aside from Francisco Rodriguez, Sean Green, J.J. Putz and a hand-full of bench players and pitchers on minor-league contracts, what will be different from this coming season and the last two seasons… if the Mets end up bringing back Oliver Perez and Pedro Martinez, then the starting rotation will be exactly the same, and the offense will be exactly the same from the final month of last season as well

i’m all for improving the bullpen, as it was absolutely necessary, but, as Ted Berg once said to me, so far, the Mets have only fixed last season’s problems, they have not addressed what may be a problem down the road

Speaking of starting pitchers…

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com believes Randy Wolf will not lower his asking price or sign with the Dodgers until he no longer has the Mets as leverage.

Starting Pitcher: Wolf Still a Possibility

Free agent pitcher Randy Wolf is still in talks with the Dodgers, Mets and ‘other clubs’ according to Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports.

On Wednesday, Rosenthal wrote that Wolf was close to signing with the Dodgers.

Rosenthal notes that Wolf was briefly offered a three-year, $28.5 million offer from the Astros before they pulled it due to cost-cutting caused by the tough economic conditions, and may now have to settle on a one-year deal worth less money.

Buzz: Wolf to Dodgers

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports notes that ‘according to major league sources’, free-agent pitcher Randy Wolf may soon sign with the Dodgers.

Wolf has been rumored to be part of the Mets’ contingency plan, should they fail to sign Oliver Perez.

…so if all the rumors are correct, and with the signing of garcia, it could soon be down to perez, sheets, and garland…oh, and some guy named pedro…

Read: More Deals To Be Made

In today’s edition of Daily Scoop, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated discusses the teams that will still make moves this off-season, including the Dodgers, Brewers and Braves.

Of the Mets, Heyman writes:

“They are hoping to land Perez after missing out on Lowe. While they have been looked at as the favorites for Perez, there’s still quite a discrepancy in where the sides stand (Perez seeks about $60 million over five years, while the Mets have been thinking more like $30 million over three). “

“Randy Wolf, Jon Garland and Sheets are all part of the backup plan.  Some inside the organization are wondering whether one year for Sheets is wiser than five for Perez, though GM Omar Minaya loves Perez (even over Lowe), so the Mets may stretch a little to try to retain Perez.”

…i try to be a patient fan and let the chips fall where they may, but the media swirl around the same couple of names every day is starting to affect me a bit – it feels like a merry-go-round…if Ben Sheets is not considered to be healthy enough, the Mets should bring back Ollie, but five years and $60 million is outrageous…

Starting Pitchers: Garland, Wolf reject D'Backs

Yesterday, the Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic said free-agent LHP Randy Wolf rejected a contract offer from the D’Backs.

Last week, Piecoro said free-agent RHP Jon Garland also rejected a contract offer from the D’Backs.

According to Piecoro, “The Diamondbacks are believed to have about $4 million left to spend for 2009,” and offered a one-year deal to Garland with two option years.

so, like i said before, it’s now safe to assume garland and wolf are not interested in at least a one-year, $4 million deal from what i can gather, garland has been on Omar Minaya’s radar, but i have no idea to what extent he is willing to pay i do believe the Mets like wolf, but they’re unwilling to spend more than $6 million or so on on him the buzz from around baseball suggests wolf is still seeking a long-term deal worth roughly $10 million per season

earlier in the off-season, garland had been looking for a two– or three-year deal, worth around $10 million per season, though i am not sure he can expect to get that today…

According to multiple reports, the D’Backs have interest in free-agent RHP Pedro Martinez, as well, though he would prefer to remain on the East Coast.

Speaking of pitchers…

The Daily Herald believes free-agent RHP Freddy Garcia will sign a contract by the end of this week, and has narrowed his decision down to the Mets, White Sox and Rangers.

Last week, however, the same newspaper said the White Sox were not inclined to sign Garcia, because they recently acquired Bartolo Colon.

Starting Pitcher: Perez, Baskets and Sheets

In a report for FoxSports.com, Ken Rosenthal says rival executives list the following problems for Oliver Perez:

“He had the lowest groundball percentage in the National League last season… His walk rate was the third highest in the league after Barry Zito and Ian Snell… And he has yet to pitch 200 innings in a season.”

Last night, on SNY’s Mets Hot Stove, Mets GM Omar Minaya had the following to say, when asked if Perez was his number one target from the current free-agent pitcher’s market:

“Well, I’m not going to disclose to you who is my number one target (laughs)… It’s a tricky situation because the agent, Scott Boras, controlled both Derek Lowe and Perez, so we decided to negotiate with Derek first, but we could have easily negotiated with Perez first…

“Perez might be the best option for us… We feel good with him, his a good teammate, you don’t know what to expect with him sometimes, pitching, or even hitting (laughs), but he’s fun, he’s your prototypical lefty… That being said, there are other guys out there… However, we are negotiating, we have been talking with Scott Boras about Oliver since the GM Meetings, slowly talking about him and it’s built up.”

To watch all of Minaya’s discussion about Perez and the starting pitcher’s market, courtesy of SNY, click here.

Yesterday, on WFAN, Mike Francesa said Perez could end up signing Minaya’s reported three-year, $30 million offer, according to a ‘field reporter.’

personally, i feel there is little-to-no-chance of perez and boras accepting a low-ball, three-year, $30 million offer in mid-January… frankly, it would not surprise me to see perez end up signing just a one-year deal, like Kyle Lohse did, with a team like the Rangers, Dodgers or Cardinals, who could overpay on the dollars, while knowing it is only a short-term situation… then, perez can take his campaign to the road again next off-season, like lohse, who ended up signing a four-year deal the following winter… or, the Mets will have to wait on boras to create a market for perez, and who knows how that will end up

…in other words, if it’s a four-year deal they’re talking about, i think the Mets are perez’s only real option, which reduces the money he’ll be offered… however, if it’s a one-year deal that’s in play, suddenly boras will have more teams to leverage against the Mets, which could raise perez’s salary for the year

Nevertheless, Rosenthal adds, “Pedro Martinez also remains on Minaya’s radar, as does free-agent Ben Sheets, pending a review of his medical records.”

Opinion: The Basket Solution

Instead of signing Oliver Perez to what could end up being a four-year deal, possibly worth as much as $12 million per season, I suggest the Mets use a ‘Basket Solution.’

Yesterday, I asked readers of MetsBlog.com what Perez was worth, and the more-than 4,400 people who voted essentially said he should get a four-year deal, which pays him roughly $13 million per season.

“He’s possibly one of those guys who can win the Cy Young award every year,” Billy Wagner told New York Post yesterday, when asked about Perez.  “It’s just, which Ollie is going to show up?”

From what I can gather, free agent Randy Wolf is likely to sign for between $7 and $10 million, but the Mets are unlikely to offer more than $5 million – the same can most likely be said for free agents Jon Garland and Pedro Martinez.

Meanwhile, people around baseball believe free agent Ben Sheets is open to accepting a one-year deal, for roughly $6 million with major incentives – such as Brad Penny and John Smoltz accepted from the Red Sox.

However, Sheets is also a Type-A free agent and was offered arbitration by the Brewers, which means a club would lose a draft pick if it signed him.

The Blue Jays have been listening to offers for Roy Halladay, but there is no evidence they are seriously open to trading him – unless the deal included a top-flight pitching prospect I would assume.

Lastly, the buzz in San Francisco suggests the Giants will move Jonathan Sanchez or Noah Lowry, but will likely require a major-league bat in return.

Nevertheless, John Maine, Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey will be counted on to make 90 or so starts for the Mets in 2009, leaving 60 or so starts to come from other pitchers.

However, don’t forget, Maine is returning from shoulder surgery and Pelfrey is entering only his second full major-league season – not to mention Santana had knee surgery in October.  In other words, nothing is a given in the current starting rotation.  So, the Mets need to be very careful with how they structure those 60 other starts.

The Mets should use the same money it will cost to keep Perez, and instead sign Sheets and one of Garland, Wolf or Martinez, or a pitcher acquired by trade, who, with Tim Redding and Jon Niese, will be more than capable of filling the missing 60 starts, and also can be called upon in case Maine, Pelfrey or Santana ever become unavailable.