Andy Altenburger/Icon SMI
After finally locking up their own free agent Oliver Perez to a $36-million, three-year deal that solidifies their rotation and works for all sides, the big question now in New York is whether the Mets might take a run at one of two great remaining free agent sluggers -- Bobby Abreu or Manny Ramirez.
According to one person familiar with their thinking, the Mets' chances to acquire those two ultra-accomplished hitters are slim (Abreu) and practically none (Ramirez).
There appears to be no evidence of any intention at this time to pursue Ramirez, despite weeks of public outcry to upstage the Yankees and land the slugging savant. And while the chances to import Abreu also appear remote, it seems they haven't ruled out Abreu entirely.
It's going to take a lot for Abreu to wind up in Queens, but it isn't quite impossible.
Abreu apparently enjoyed his time across town with the Yankees, and if a market doesn't emerge for him, the Mets might consider him on a bargain one-year deal (perhaps $8 million or under). Abreu isn't the greatest fit in the field since he's a left-handed hitter who plays right field (Ramirez would actually work better, as a right-handed hitter who plays left field). But unlike Ramirez, Abreu at least has a chance to fit into the payroll.
One possible complication is that Mets people believe Abreu works better if they could find a taker for current right fielder Ryan Church, and that isn't necessarily a snap at this late date.
Other teams that have shown some interest in Abreu -- one of only three players to have at least 100 RBIs each of the last six seasons (Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols are the others) -- include the Dodgers, Braves, Giants, Mariners and White Sox. A few of those other teams would need to make a move before considering Abreu (for instance, the White Sox would have to trade Jermaine Dye first).
If none of those teams work out, the Mets could enter the picture.
In a rough economy, the Mets were hoping to keep their payroll about where it was last year, and despite the additions of relievers Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz and the re-signing of Perez, they are in a position to do that. While financial considerations mean there is practically no chance they'll be going after Manny, who rejected a $45-million, two-year offer from the Dodgers, the Mets are still keeping an eye on Abreu.