10:58am: Competing GMs say the Mets' Omar Minaya is "itching'' to do a deal. And it's no wonder with the Yankees stealing the show across town and the competing Marlins close to possibly adding superstar Manny Ramirez. However, a lot of Mets people want to hold onto their top prospects, including outfielder Fernando Martinez, and pitchers Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz and Robert Parnell. Seattle requested "two premium prospects'' for outfielder Raul Ibanez, and Mets people don't like that idea. Minaya is spending more time on the relief situation, which is looking iffy lately, especially with Duaner Sanchez's radar gun readings down.
This will make Angst/Joey Walnuts happy, but it makes me nervous. Minaya strikes me as the type of general manager who will make a trade just for the sake of doing so, which almost never works out well. Oh, and Seattle is crazy if they think anyone is trading two premium prospects for Raul Ibanez. If the Mariners wanted to trade Ibanez for Eddie Kunz and Bobby Parnell, I would be fine with that, since I have no faith whatsoever in those guys. They aren't premium rospects and the idea that Kunz and Parnell are anything other than cannon fodder at the major league level is pie in the sky dreaming.
9 am: One bullpen option the Mets have kicked around is to try to pry disappointing starter Ian Snell from Pittsburgh with the idea of employing him as a reliever for the remainder of the year. Snell could then be used in the rotation next year when the Mets may need starters. Pedro Martinez likely won't be back and Oliver Perez could leave as a free agent. The Mets are continuing to make left-hander Jon Niese unavailable because they'd like to see him make the rotation next year.I like that idea a lot. Ian Snell has talent and is a tough customer who hates losing. He could be rejuvenated playing for a franchise that actually gives a damn about winning. If the Pirates were dumb enough to take a C prospect for Snell - and God knows the last 15 years have proven that they are - the Mets would have to jump all over that.
UPDATE: 1:49 pm: The Mets are talking to the Nationals about a deal for reliever Luis Ayala, SI.com has learned. Mets GM Omar Minaya badly wants a reliever and wouldn't mind making a deal. This could be it.
Minaya has a good working relationship with Jim Bowden, so this wouldn't be surprising. Luis Ayala isn't very good; even when he's going well he gives up more than a hit per inning and has a low strikeout rate. He is strictly bullpen filler, so hopefully Minaya won't offer anything more than a marginal prospect for his services.
UPDATE: No deals done. I wouldn't be surprised if the Mets continue to pursue Ayala; I don't imagine he'll have much trouble passing through waivers.