12:06pm: ESPN’s Buster Olney ranks the Mets’ priorities as reliever, corner outfielder, and starter, in that order. They’re currently discussing Ibanez with the Mariners, but not much has come of it yet.
10:17am: Dan Graziano of the Newark Star-Ledger doesn’t buy the denials – he says Mets GM Omar Minaya remains interested in Manny Ramirez. The Mets rank Ramirez above alternatives like Raul Ibanez, Adam Dunn, and Randy Winn, and might make certain prospects available just for Manny. Is Jon Niese among them? Niese is thought to be untouchable, and was promoted to Triple A today.
Meanwhile Mets manager Jerry Manuel endorsed Fernando Tatis at the everyday left fielder. David Lennon doesn’t expect a trade unless the price comes down on Ibanez. Can Tatis continue to channel his glory days, when he posted a .957 OPS with 34 home runs for the ’99 Cardinals?
Graziano also talked to an NL official familiar with the Mets’ plans. That person said the Mets are considering a bullpen overhaul where they would ship out Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis and bring in different relievers.