As the Mets shift through offers for injured/angered CF Mike Cameron, yesterday’s surprise sitdown with team brass in Atlanta might indicate said proposals aren’t nearly as plentiful as first reported. To make things more confusing, the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner writes that Cameron is once again, A-OK with a move to right field, while Newsday’s David Lennon says there’s an uneasy peace between the former Mariner and New York management.
It’s unclear what the Mets hoped to accomplish yesterday when a contingent led by general manager Omar Minaya stopped in Atlanta to visit Mike Cameron en route to the Dominican Republic.
The two-time Gold Glove centerfielder obviously is disappointed with the prospect of moving aside for the newly-signed Carlos Beltran, and despite a muddled attempt at diplomacy on a conference call with reporters last night, neither Minaya nor Cameron could definitively say the player’s future will be in Flushing.
Cameron is coveted by other clubs, and most recently his name has been mentioned in a swap with the A’s for outfielder Eric Byrnes and reliever Chad Bradford. But Minaya denied yesterday that Cameron has asked to be dealt, while in the same breath emphasizing that anything is possible.
“You know what I’ve always said about people being traded,” Minaya said. “I just believe that there are no untouchables on the team. I never put myself in a position of saying that a guy will never be traded. But I can tell you right now that if Opening Day was today, Mike Cameron would be our rightfielder.”
Listening to Cameron, who struggled to sound accommodating, trading him might be the best option for all involved. Cameron often shook his head in amazement at the goings-on during his first season in New York, and ultimately being shoved out of his position is difficult to stomach.
“I just had a lot of questions,” Cameron said of yesterday’s meeting. “I knew the feelings in my heart that I needed to express. It’s kind of personal. Just things I needed answered for myself.”
“I’ll always view myself as [a centerfielder],” Cameron said. “It’s hard. Imagine someone coming in and telling you to do something different from what you’ve always done. Maybe I can excel at this though. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know for sure. We’ll see what happens.”
The Mets have not done well in moving Jose Reyes / Kaz Matsui and Mike Piazza, but maybe Cameron will be different. Or maybe he just won’t be here long enough to find out.