The Friday Night Rumor Mill–May 12, 2006

Outfielders and pitchers have moved to the head of the line on contending teams’ want lists, especially for two National League contenders…

Could Mays be coming back to the Mets? Before anyone gets too excited, it’s not Willie Mays I’m talking about, but right-hander Joe Mays, who’s never actually played in New York but could be a band-aid for the back end of the Mets’ weathered rotation. Recently designated for assignment by the Royals, Mays is the kind of sinkerballer who could be aided by New York’s rangy double-play combination of Jose Reyes and Kaz Matsui. Mays wouldn’t cost much, probably no more than a C or D-level prospect in the Mets’ system. The Royals would likely pick up at least half of Mays’ salary for 2006, as well…

As they wait the return of Brian Bannister from the DL, the Mets will look at low-cost, short-term options for their rotation rather than giving up someone like Lastings Milledge for a higher profile starter. Xavier Nady’s hot start in right field could make the Mets more likely to use Victor Diaz as trade bait. If Omar Minaya can acquire a legitimate No. 4 starter for Diaz, he’ll likely make that deal, something he was unwilling to do over the winter…

The Cardinals are keeping one eye on potential left field targets in the trade market, but they plan to give Larry Bigbie, just off the disabled list, the first look in their continuing search for Reggie Sanders’ fulltime successor. If Bigbie hits well, the Cards might settle for a right-handed hitting platoon partner. If Bigbie doesn’t hit, they’ll step up efforts to acquire someone like Shannon Stewart of the Twins, or maybe even Sanders himself (who might be regretting his wintertime decision to sign with the Triple-A Royals)… Speaking of Stewart, he figures to be one of several left fielders the Yankees will consider in the aftermath of Hideki Matsui’s wrist fracture. But first they plan on giving an extended look to Melky Cabrera, whose minor league resume indicates he will hit in the major leagues…

The Cardinals might not be restricting their outfield search to left fielders. Jim Edmonds’ slow start and fragile condition has led general manager Walt Jocketty to talk to the Twins about Torii Hunter, who would become a free agent at season’s end if Minnesota chooses not to pick up his option. St. Louis might be willing to offer Triple-A right-hander Anthony Reyes, who is currently an insurance policy in case one of the Cardinals’ starters goes down with injury. The acquisition of Hunter would allow Edmonds to take some time off and rehab; once Edmonds returns, the Cardinals could re-insert him in center field and slide Hunter over to left, giving St. Louis (with Juan Encarnacion in right) arguably the best defensive outfield in the National League…

Since the Cardinals are looking for outfielders and the Mets remain needy for pitchers, why don’t the two teams hook up directly in trade talks? A deal of Anthony Reyes for Victor Diaz makes an awful lot of sense. At one time, the Mets and Cardinals were bitter rivals nestled in the same division. Now they’re in different divisions, which makes a trade between the two teams a logical possibility.


It figures to be a busy weekend for yours truly. On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be signing copies of my new book, The Team That Changed Baseball: Roberto Clemente and the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. The signings will take place from noon to 2:00 pm each day at Augur’s Bookstore, located on the corner of Main and Pioneer streets in the village of Cooperstown.

And then on Monday, I’ll be sharing broadcast duties with’s Vinny Micucci on this year’s Hall of Fame Game broadcast. In this year’s annual exhibition, the Pirates take on the Reds, in what amounts to a long-awaited rematch of the 1972 playoffs!


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