The New York Times’ Lee Jenkins on continued talks by the Mets to part ways with C/1B Mike Piazza.

If the Mets are going to trade for Sammy Sosa, acquire another corner outfielder, sign a marquee first baseman and shore up their bullpen this off-season, they may have to trade Mike Piazza and shed his $16 million contract.

The Mets have explored two trade possibilities that would send Piazza to Southern California, where he started his major league career and established himself as one of the premier sluggers in the game.

Not only have the Mets spoken with the Los Angeles Dodgers about trading Piazza to his former team for Shawn Green, a baseball executive said yesterday, but the Mets have also had preliminary discussions with the Anaheim Angels about a deal for Piazza, most likely for Jose Guillen.

The executive said that the Dodgers and the Angels had expressed interest in Piazza, but it seems that Anaheim would probably be a better fit. The Angels do not have a designated hitter, and their owner, Arte Moreno, is looking for ways to penetrate the Los Angeles market.

Still, in order for the Angels to accept Piazza’s contract, the Mets would probably have to make some sacrifices. The organization is torn on whether it wants to take a chance on Guillen, the troubled outfielder who was suspended for the end of last season because of an altercation with Manager Mike Scioscia.

Even if the Mets decide they can handle Guillen, they will surely have to pay a significant portion of Piazza’s salary to complete a trade with the Angels.

Guillen will make a relatively modest $3.5 million next season, and the Angels do not have many high-priced players they are looking to trade.

Anaheim might throw in pitcher Ramon Ortiz, who was banished to the bullpen last season and is expected to make around $4 million after arbitration.

I don’t think it is unfair to say that if WIllie Randolph is expected to manage Sammy Sosa and Jose Guillen in his first year in charge, he’ll be earning every penny.