Talked to my Mets source recently, and their priorities for catcher are as follows.
1. Ramon Hernandez, but only at the right length (three years) and price (maybe $8MM per). The Mets are pretending publicly they’d start the season with Ramon Castro behind the plate. That posturing is similar to the Yankees’ assertion that they could begin the ’06 season with Bubba Crosby in center. Not gonna happen.
2. Bengie Molina, if he takes less cash than Hernandez.
3. Brad Ausmus.
4. Toby Hall through trade.
Ivan Rodriguez is not on the club’s radar due to injury concerns and his salary.
The Mets are likely to trade Jeff Keppinger or Anderson Hernandez and start the remaining player in Triple A in 2006. They have an eye on Mark Grudzielanek to fill the 2B void.
The latest on Manny Ramirez is that the Red Sox are simply asking for too much from the Mets for the slugger. New York is the one serious trade partner for Ramirez and won’t be surrendering Lastings Milledge and Cliff Floyd.