Perhaps mindful that the acquisition of Kris Benson (above) occurred on Jim Duquette’s watch, Mets GM Omar Minaya doesn’t seem particularly desperate to sign the free agent pitcher. From Newsday’s David Lennon.
Now that Kris Benson has hit the open market, and Al Leiter is sure to follow Monday, the Mets’ lack of urgency in negotiations may cost them. There is no guarantee that either pitcher will be back in Flushing. While both have expressed a desire to return, the Mets were at least a few million dollars short of Benson’s asking price when the free-agent signing period kicked off Friday, and Leiter wasn’t even close to an agreement.
The Mets already had a three-year, $21-million offer on the table for Benson, with an option that would bring the total to $26 million. The two sides have been talking almost from the day Benson was acquired, but the upheaval in the front office has slowed the pace on the deal.
“They wanted to trade for Kris for the sake of getting close to the pennant race. It didn’t work,” general manager Omar Minaya said. “The main thing is we want to make sure we get a guy out there who we can feel can give us the productivity that we like out of that role. Whether it’s Kris or somebody else.”
The Mets are still optimistic about Benson, but Leiter feels slighted and plans to test the market after the club declines his $10-million option Monday, making him a free agent. Leiter’s camp was discouraged by the Mets’ initial $4-million offer, and with the club planning to present him with an upgraded offer this weekend, there is almost zero chance he would accept at this point, especially with the Yankees interested.