07.30.05

Harper To Wilpon : Pull The Trigger

Posted in Baseball at 9:31 am by

Whatever might be holding up the Mets’ acquisition of Manny Ramirez, the New York Daily News’ John Harper says no price is too high.

There isn’t any debate from a baseball standpoint, even if they have to give up Braden Looper in addition to Mike Cameron and Lastings Milledge in this proposed three-way deal with the Red Sox and Devil Rays. The inclusion of reliever Danys Baez from the Devil Rays makes it pretty much of an even swap with Looper.

As of late last night, however, the Mets had rejected the Red Sox’s offer because owner Fred Wilpon refused to pick up the entire $64 million remaining on Ramirez’s contract.

Nevertheless, if the chance is there to revive the deal by tomorrow’s 4 p.m. deadline, the onus is on the Mets to find a way to make it work, especially if money is the only sticking point. The Mets have too much invested in the win-now possibilities of this team to let the money scare them off. They can’t pretend to be building for the future, no matter how young David Wright and Jose Reyes may be, when Pedro Martinez is at the top of his game right now … and perhaps for not much longer.

Besides, Mike Piazza’s $15-million-a-year comes off the payroll after this season, Wilpon has his own TV network as of next season, and finally he has a new stadium in the works.

So money can’t be the deal-breaker here, not with the Mets drawing crowds to Shea again, and the possibilities of full houses nightly in August and September should they add Ramirez and make a real run at the playoffs.

There isn’t any doubt that GM Omar Minaya, who wanted to acquire Ramirez last winter, was pushing to make the deal, and people close to the situation say Pedro was pushing Mets executives as well.

At the same time, someone close to Minaya said the Mets’ GM was savvy enough to understand that even if he doesn’t get Ramirez, the word of such a potential deal might just prompt Rangers’ GM John Hart to lower his demands for Alfonso Soriano.

“Either way he gets his guy,” the person said of Minaya.

However this shakes out, it must be very comforting for Tampa fans (all 5000 of them) to know that the Mets are committed to their team’s player development each summer.

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