From David Lennon in Saturday’s Newsday :

General manager Omar Minaya refused to discuss the specifics in a conference call, but he did say the club is negotiating for rightfielder Richard Hidalgo’s return, another indication the Mets have cooled on Sammy Sosa after the recent steroid revelations involving Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds.

For their other corner outfielder, the Mets are very interested in 38-year-old free agent Moises Alou, both for his ability and his temperament. He would cost far less than Sosa and is lower maintenance, and the team thinks he would be a help rather than a hindrance in the clubhouse for rookie manager Willie Randolph.

As for Pedro Martinez, the Mets are growing more and more confident of their chances of signing him. As long as the Red Sox remain hesitant to match the Mets’ offer of three years and $38 million with a vesting option, and the Yankees stay on the sideline, the chances increase that Martinez might be lured to Shea. Even Minaya slipped a little Friday and envisioned him in the rotation.

The Mets also have come to the conclusion that if Mike Piazza is not traded, he will be a catcher in 2005. The team determined he is too much of a defensive liability at first base.

So the only thing that scares the Mets about Sosa is bad press? Incredible. Thank you, San Francisco Chronicle.

It is also fascinating that they’d choose to pursue Moises Alou at this stage in his career. I mean, why not wait until he’s 40 or 45 years old? There’s no arguing that Alou would’ve been a tremendous addition to the Mets….the last three times he was available (’97, ’98 and 2002).