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More buzzing, on Soriano and others

Some more stuff from the g.m. meetings...

Evan Grant says Jon Daniels is "not looking for a deal," but is just listening right now. Kevin Mench apparently continues to be the name drawing the most interest, with Evan Grant mentioning the Cubs, the Royals, the Blue Jays, and the Pirates as teams with an eye on Mench.

The Royals are supposedly willing to talk about Jeremy Affeldt, who doesn't do much for me. The Blue Jays seem more intriguing, with Grant listing Brandon League, Miguel Batista and Alexis Rios as players the Jays would be wiling to talk about.

Former DMN baseball writer Ben Shpigel, meanwhile, has a piece in the New York Times about the Mets pursuit of Alfonso Soriano. Of particular interest:

Minaya explored the possibility of acquiring Soriano last season. Even before Minaya became general manager, in the spring of 2004, the Mets contemplated a deal for Soriano that would have required surrendering José Reyes. The 22-year-old Reyes had a strong season in 2005 and, presumably, the Mets would again decline to include him in a deal for Soriano.

But they may not have to, because the Rangers, who already have one of the more potent lineups in baseball, need starting pitching. They could also use bullpen depth and an upgrade in the outfield. Those needs match what the Mets have to offer.

The Mets have a surplus of starting pitching, and Mike Cameron would provide the answer to the Rangers' inconsistency in center field and help to offset the loss of Soriano's bat. The Mets could throw in a second-base prospect, Anderson Hernandez or Jeff Keppinger, although that may not be necessary because the Rangers have groomed Ian Kinsler to replace Soriano.

Of the Mets' pitchers, the Rangers may be interested in Aaron Heilman and Jae Seo, who fit the profile for a successful pitcher at hitter-friendly Ameriquest Field, where fly balls can turn into home runs. Heilman and Seo have outstanding changeups, which often induce ground balls, and Heilman in particular has developed into a strikeout pitcher. He recorded 106 strikeouts in 108 innings last season, mostly in relief. And neither Heilman nor Seo, with their relatively limited major league experience, makes a lot of money.

I'd be very happy with a straight-up Soriano-for-Cameron swap. If we could get Cameron plus a prospect, or Heilman or Seo, I'd be thrilled.

Tom Gatto of the Sporting News offers some "trades that make sense, which includes this convoluted four-way deal:

2. 2B Alfonso Soriano and RHP Jonathan Broxton to the Red Sox; CF Torii Hunter to the Dodgers; Kendrick, 1B Adrian Gonzalez and 3B Kevin Youkilis to the Twins and RHPs Bronson Arroyo and Cla Meredith and LHP Derek Thompson to the Rangers. Soriano would replace Ramirez as the righthanded thunder in the Sox's lineup and bring 30-30 speed. Broxton could provide bullpen help. Publicly, Hunter is staying put, but Minnesota ought to be trying right now to receive some value for its $10 million man; the Twins would get a new infield here. The Rangers would add needed pitching. The Dodgers would get a premier (albeit expensive) center fielder to replace Milton Bradley.

I don't know that that makes a whole lot of sense for the Rangers.

Of course, Gatto also suggests the Pirates trade Kip Wells and Nate McLouth to the Marlins for Mike Lowell, apparently thinking that the Pirates need an extremely expensive, washed-up third baseman, and would give up value to acquire one.