New Manny Scenario Discussed?

A source close to the Mets organization has supplied me with a possible trade scenario that is being discussed.  It’s complicated, but I thought I’d put it out there.

Mets trade: Aaron Heilman, Cliff Floyd, Victor Diaz, Brian Bannister
Mets get: Manny Ramirez

TB trades: Julio Lugo, Joey Gathright
TB receives: Aaron Heilman, Victor Diaz, Bronson Arroyo

Red Sox trade: Manny Ramirez, Bronson Arroyo
Red Sox receive: Julio Lugo, Joey Gathright, Cliff Floyd, Brian Bannister

Wow.  I’m not sure if this is any more plausible than the other complicated possibilities floating around, but this is a solid source.  Let’s see if it passes the reality test.

The Mets give up Heilman, Floyd, Diaz, and Bannister for Manny.  That’s a huge bounty, but the only real gem there is Heilman.  Plus, Manny is still a superstar.  Diaz is a good outfield prospect, and Bannister is a B level starter with a low ceiling.  Floyd is a year away from free agency and expendable if Manny is acquired.  The Mets could always try to get Manny and keep Floyd, but Floyd hasn’t played RF since 2002.  I would say this portion is not too far-fetched.

How about Tampa Bay’s side of things?  First off, my guess is that upper management would be reluctant to package Lugo and Gathright together.  As with the Huff/Baez rumors, why not just trade them separately and maximize the return?  The demand is certainly there.  Lugo is a hot commodity right now, and the Rays have been asking for a lot of Gathright (Scott Olsen?).  Arroyo would make a great #2 for TB; I’ve projected him to lead the Red Sox in wins in 2006.  The team doesn’t have a need for Diaz in a stacked outfield.  Then again, he’d be a decent fit at first base.  They’d probably love to have Heilman in the rotation or closing games.  Overall, I’d label this part of the trade as somewhat questionable.

The Red Sox are basically getting three quality Major Leaguers in return for a superstar and a promising young starter.  Given Floyd’s injury record and impending free agency, I can see his inclusion.  Gathright hasn’t proven anything at the Major League level yet; only Lugo is a known quantity, and he’s also got free agency looming.  So if you look at it that way, things seem fair for the Red Sox.  The Mets might even have to throw in some cash to make this work for the Sox.       

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