Mets in Preliminary Talks with Carl Pavano; Talked to Dbacks About Upton, Kubel

By Matt Musico

The Mets remain the only team in Major League Baseball that hasn’t signed a free agent to a Big League contract yet this winter, but don’t worry, that’s about to change. However, that doesn’t mean the players will be ones the fans would be super excited about.

In regards to the hole in the rotation left by R.A. Dickey, the Mets are interested in filling it with veteran Carl Pavano; talks are very preliminary, but there is definitely some mutual interest, and the right-hander is talking to five other teams. After an injury-shortened 2012 campaign (2-5, 6.00 ERA in 11 starts), the 36-year-old is reportedly healthy as he’s going through his winter workouts to prepare for 2013. He’s obviously a low risk, high reward kind of pickup, as he’s not far removed removed from the 17-11 record, and 3.75 ERA in 32 starts he put together for the Twins in 2010. However, remember what happened the last time he was a member of a New York baseball team? He signed a big multi-year deal as a free agent to pitch for the Yankees, and only started 26 games in three years, going 9-8 with a 5.00 ERA. If the talks between Pavano and the Mets get to the next level, I can only hope he’ll stay healthy for most of the season.

May 19, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano (48) during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll find out tomorrow whether or not Mike Piazza will get the necessary number of votes to enter baseball immortality on the first try. Unfortunately for Mets fans, it’s looking more and more unlikely that it will be happening, as Jon Heyman is the latest voter to release his ballot to the public, and the greatest hitting catcher of all time isn’t on it. Danny Abriano put together his thoughts about why Heyman voted for a player like Don Mattingly, but decided to lump players like Jeff Bagwell and Piazza into a group of “tainted players.” Also, there is an excellent article over at Metsmerized on this topic as well.

The Mets made it official yesterday with Wally Backman, as they announced Wally Backman as their Triple-A manager for the Las Vegas 51s.

Although Sandy Alderson said the Mets could be “conceivably done” with their efforts to add to the outfield, we could just be days away from finding out whether or not Scott Hairston will return for his third season in Queens. His agent, Casey Close, has been in negotiations with both the Mets and Yankees and it will be up to Hairston to decide which team will be the best fit for him. He’s said earlier in the winter he prefers to return to Flushing because he has more of a chance to prove himself and play every day, as he appeared in 131 games in 2012 while slugging 20 homers and 57 RBI. It will be interesting to see who he picks because we know it’s unlikely Alderson has offered a multi-year deal. If Hairston returns, I won’t be jumping for joy because he’s another outfielder that’s not a proven starter, but at least New York will have someone who has been through the grind of a Major League, and has been successful against left-handed pitching.

To stay on the outfield topic, a report surfaced on MLB Trade Rumors yesterday that the Mets called GM Kevin Towers of the Arizona Diamondbacks to discuss the availability of both Jason Kubel and Justin Upton. Unfortunately for New York, the asking price for Upton is too high (young pitching is desired) and Kubel wouldn’t exactly be a perfect fit in the Mets’ lineup. Alderson said the organization is not eager to trade their young prospects, and said a trade before Spring Training is always possible, but it doesn’t look likely right now. They’ve expressed interest in Ben Francisco (as have the Yankees), but Scott Podsednik’s agent said he hasn’t gotten a call from the Mets.