In what must be a slight comedown for the Mets beat writer a deal after chatting with Anna Benson, the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin writes that Omar Minaya’s addition of Mark Grudzielanek is dependent on whether or not the GM can find a taker for 2B Kaz Matsui’s salary.
Manny Ramirez remains on Omar Minaya’s radar; Kaz Matsui is below it. So the Mets’ GM intended to meet with Red Sox brass last night at the winter meetings, hoping to resume dialogue. One subject already under discussion, however, was the future of Matsui (above), preferrably as an ex-Met. The Japanese second baseman is being shopped as the Mets seek to save salary at his position, with the difference perhaps going in the Ramirez fund.
Since Minaya sees the lineup as otherwise settled, the Red Sox will have to be modest in their demands in order for Ramirez to become a Met, an insider said.
That means Boston brass absorbing a sizable portion of the $57 million owed to the slugger and ideally allowing the Mets to keep prospect Lastings Milledge and pitcher Aaron Heilman. Boston’s suitors might have dwindled by one last night, with Angels’ brass privately saying they were not interested in the Washington Heights product.
In fact, there are strong indications Minaya must deal Matsui (owed $8 million in 2006) before signing free agent Mark Grudzielanek – and there’s no certainty he can accomplish that objective. Trading Matsui appears a prerequisite even though Grudzielanek has offered to backload a multiyear deal to keep his salary low until Matsui comes off the books.
Minaya at one point yesterday seemed to admit the Mets would not acquire a front-line player at the position while Matsui remains on the roster. Asked if the Mets could sign a starting second baseman while still possessing Matsui, Minaya said: “Very doubtful.”