The Padres want Cameron to play center field at spacious Petco Park. They would prefer not to trade right-handed reliever Akinori Otsuka, who would set up for Scott Linebrink in the likely event that Trevor Hoffman departs as a free agent. But it’s possible the Padres could part with a hitter like Xavier Nady, whom the Mets could use in a platoon with Mike Jacobs at first or spin in a bigger deal for Ramirez.
The Orioles also need a center fielder, and their new vice-president of baseball operations, Jim Duquette, signed Cameron as a free agent when he was the Mets’ GM. Right-handed reliever Jorge Julio, 26, has interested the Mets in the past, but he’s coming off his worst season. The Mets surely would prefer right-hander Chris Ray (above), 23, but the Orioles view Ray as a potential long-term replacement for left-handed closer B.J. Ryan, who is expected to depart as a free agent.
The Diamondbacks, another team looking to improve in center, could renew their pursuit of Cameron if they trade right-hander Javier Vazquez, who is guaranteed $24 million over the next two seasons. The D-Backs’ manager Bob Melvin, managed Cameron with the Mariners in 2003, and their new GM, Josh Byrnes, was part of the Red Sox’s front office that targeted Cameron last summer. It’s doubtful the Diamondbacks would trade Chad Tracy, but they’ve got interesting young arms and several top position prospects to offer.