Brian Cashman and Omar Minaya have engaged in preliminary talks about a blockbuster trade that would send Gary Sheffield to the Mets for a package headed by Mike Cameron, according to an executive from both an AL and NL club.
The two executives cautioned that talks are in their infancy and filled with major hurdles. After all, this would be the largest trade ever executed between the two New York teams, and neither wants to help the other make the playoffs and be endlessly ridiculed in the city. Nevertheless, the willingness to broach this deal shows the current thinking of both organizations.
The Mets have defined a late-inning reliever and a middle-of-the-order bat as their main needs, and have come to believe a quality bullpen arm at a reasonable return price may never become available. Sheffield, though, would be the run producer the Mets tried and just missed getting in the offseason with Carlos Delgado. Hitting between Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd, Sheffield (above) would give the Mets an elite middle of the order.
I know a few Mets fans who are freaking out over this deal, convinced that Sheffield is an aging, divisive force and that Cameron’s low salary makes him a far more valuable bargaining chip. But consider the following :
1) Sheff has already starred for such successful franchises as the Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Braves and Yankees — and he’s been a winner with most of ’em! Would so many clubs be eager to employ Dwight Gooden’s nephew if he weren’t such a hot commodity?
2) Fringe benefits galore! Tasty meals prepared by his world class chef. Cutting-edge training techniques and guidance provided by a veteran leader who has worked with some of the biggest pioneers names in the fitness industry. And as recent incidents at Fenway and Yankee Stadium have shown, he’s a mature, cool-headed dude when the pressure is on. Just don’t mention the words “video” or “R. Kelly” in his presence and everything will be o.k.