IM HOPING THE METS GET NIXON. IM SICK OF HIM ON THE RED SOX.
Mets: Bradley, Nixon in trade rumors
BY LAWRENCE ROCCA
CINCINNATI -- Hoping to bolster the league's least productive lineup, the Mets have entered into trade discussions for outfielders Trot Nixon of the Red Sox and Milton Bradley of the Expos, according to executives with all three organizations.
As of last night, Mets officials were more hopeful of completing a deal for Bradley than one for Nixon, but their optimism was tempered by Expos GM Jim Beattie's longstanding reluctance to trade with division rivals.
Beattie has also had substantive talks regarding Bradley with the Orioles, Indians and White Sox. An Expos official said yesterday that "after checking out other possibilities," talks with the Mets "will get revisited," perhaps by the end of the weekend. It's unclear what the Mets have offered for Bradley, who is being shopped because the Expos have a surplus of outfielders.
Nixon, a left-handed hitter, is batting .235 with a pair of homers and 10 RBI in 51 at-bats. Bradley, a switch-hitter, is hitting .194 with no homers, an RBI and a pair of stolen bases in 33 at-bats.
The Red Sox also have a surplus of outfielders, which is why Mets GM Steve Phillips hoped Boston might be willing to move Nixon. But Red Sox GM Dan Duquette has been pushing Dante Bichette, Troy O'Leary and Mike Lansing, high-priced and low-producing players in whom the Mets have no interest. The Mets do not view any of those three as an upgrade over Benny Agbayani and Timo Perez, who have much lower salaries and are expected to come off the disabled list Tuesday.
As long as Manny Ramirez remains at DH, the Red Sox will not have a problem finding playing time for Nixon, a favorite of manager Jimy Williams who blossomed last season after years of hype and disappointment. Ramirez moved to DH because of a badly pulled hamstring and has enjoyed his time there, so much so that Williams has kept him there even though Ramirez is probably ready to begin playing the outfield again.
Ramirez, who has a history of moodiness, signed with the Red Sox with the understanding he would play left field but abruptly changed his mind in spring training and decided he wanted to play right, which is Nixon's position. If Ramirez decides he wants to play right again and becomes unmanageable, the Red Sox might change their stance on Nixon, but Mets officials are not optimistic that will happen.
Phillips is said to be pursuing the outfielders as a normal course of due diligence, not out of some deep concern for the lineup's early struggles, but the substantive nature of the talks indicates Phillips recognizes there is room for improvement in the outfield. After all, Phillips did spend a large portion of the off-season trying to trade for Johnny Damon. The Mets also pursued a deal for Matt Lawton.
Entering play last night, the Mets ranked last in the National League in batting, runs scored, hits and total bases.