The talk eventually turned to Barry Zito, to whom the Mets have yet to extend an offer for service. Reports have been circulating that the Texas Rangers, despite resigning Vicente Padilla, have already made an offer to Zito on the order of six years, $102 million, an average annual salary of $17 million.
For his part, Minaya was a sound-byte machine regarding Zito:
"I just can't worry about what other teams are doing. I know who we like and what we feel value is, and that's all we can do."and
"We know what we want. We know who we want. We also know the parameters of what we are going to spend. Just because the market goes in one area doesn't mean we're just going to chase the market."and this, regarding the impact Rick Peterson, Zito's former pitching coach in Oakland, may have on the negotiations
"If we want a player, we will utilize anybody that can help us in acquiring that player."and this, regarding the innings Zito has piled up over the years
"It could be seen as a concern or it could be seen as a positive. To me, you're buying something that's been proven and is consistent. So that's more a positive than anything else."and this, about the burgeoning trade market
"It's almost a wish list of guys that we would want to be traded. We have to explore that wish list," Minaya said. "Does it come from the market or does it come from a trade? "The more you stay around these environments, there's always going to be one or two names you didn't expect to become available that will become available."and this, about his comfort going into 2007 with his current rotation
"The staff we've got right now is the staff we had the second half of last year. And it might be even better. We've got volume. We've got like about 10 guys that we can go to, and young guys that we think can get better."and this, in apparent caveman-speak, about the rising cost of players
"Nothing surprises me. We checked in on a couple of guys. Price is pretty high."and finally, on Manny Ramirez
"I've been down that road. We're very happy with Moises Alou in left field."The man is a quote machine. He manages to say a lot without really saying anything at all. Maybe he's downplaying the Mets' interest in Zito, or maybe they really don't want to break the bank on a pitcher who they perceive to be a #2 pitcher in this league. Of course, given the general unavailability of true aces, a #2 may be the best that a team can hope for nowadays unless they can grow somebody better.
This one is likely to heat up in the next day or two, so stay tuned.