Omar Minaya spent the entire Thanksgiving holiday working the phones - or, to be more specific, working the Red Sox for a possible deal for Manny Ramirez. According to a National League executive, the Mets made notable progress, a development that was seconded by a club official who said Sunday night, "We have a shot."
Ramirez is, and always has been, Minaya's biggest prey, although the hunt until now has been slowed by two obstacles. First, Ramirez' $20 million annual salary was more than the Wilpon family was willing to spend. And second, Ramirez, 33, would almost certainly cost the Mets hot-shot outfield prospect Lastings Milledge.
That's one reason Minaya was exploring a deal for Alfonso Soriano - until the Rangers' demands included Milledge, said the NL source. Once the price tag became too steep, Minaya resumed an earlier dialogue with the Red Sox, who were surprisingly receptive. It's still unclear whom, exactly, the Red Sox would demand in addition to Milledge, but Minaya may be willing to convince ownership that with Ramirez in a lineup that already has Carlos Delgado, the East can be conquered outright in 2006.
So we'll see where this takes us. Adding Ramirez probably means that the Mets are out of the Soriano hunt. And personally, I think asking for Lastings Milledge in exchange for Soriano is being unrealistic.
I'm coming to the conclusion that Alfonso Soriano is going to be a Ranger next year, and that he'll walk after the 2006 season. I'd rather see him dealt now, with Kinsler taking over at 2B and the $10 million Soriano will get spent elsewhere, but the Rangers apparently are continuing to hold out for a lucrative package in return for Soriano, and I don't think there's anyone out there willing to give one up.