- Last Updated: 3:59 PM, July 8, 2012
- Posted: 2:13 PM, July 8, 2012
BOSTON – The Mets have Ramon Hernandez atop their wish list to upgrade at catcher, but team officials insist they see this more as a salary dump by the Rockies and, therefore, will not offer up much of a prospect in return.
The Post was the first to report in Sunday’s paper that the Mets are eyeing Hernandez, who was originally signed out of Venezuela by then A’s GM Sandy Alderson. The Mets also are looking at Boston’s Kelly Shoppach and Miguel Olivo as they prioritize finding a righty-hitting catcher with some pop to work in conjunction with lefty Josh Thole.
It is the kind of incremental improvement they want to make to enhance their postseason chances. One Mets official said, “We are not talking about acquiring Gary Carter in 1985 here.” Translation: It is still a few weeks from the deadline, teams can ask big returns now, but the Mets will wait for more realistic requests or else not make the purchase.
Colorado really likes both Triple-A center fielder Matt Den Dekker and lefty reliever Josh Edgin. But Alderson told The Post last week that he could not envision trading any prospects he projects to help the team between now and 2014. And Edgin, as the Post reported last week, is likely to join the bullpen early in the second half while Den Dekker could be part of the outfield next season.
In addition, the Rockies have interest in Double-A shortstop Wilfredo Tovar and Low-A pitchers Jacob DeGrom and Domingo Tapia. Tovar, in particular, could be a player the Mets move at some point because they see his skill set as similar to Ruben Tejada. But the Mets view that trio as prospects, as well, and – at this moment – cannot imagine dealing any of them for a 36-year-old catcher, currently on the DL, who the Rockies are desperate to move.
In fact, at this moment, the Mets see the biggest asset they are willing to give Colorado is salary relief – and not even total salary relief, at that. Hernandez is making $3.2 million this year and is due $3.2 million next season and the Mets have shown a willingness to take on most, but not all of that total.
The last-place Rockies are among the majors’ most disappointing teams and are in the mode of trying to rid themselves of excess salary while adding pieces for the future. To that end, they are pushing to deal Hernandez and Marco Scutaro, who is making $6 million. The Tigers are believed to be interested in Scutaro to play second.
Thus, it is possible the Mets could offer some salary relief and Justin Turner as a low-cost ($491,000 this year) stopgap for Scutaro. Turner is a supplementary player Colorado has long liked.
Hernandez (left hand strain) is nearing the end of a DL stint. While he was out, rookie Wilin Rosario captured the starting catching job and the Rockies are comfortable with Wil Nieves as the backup. Thus, Hernandez is very expendable. He was hitting .215 in 27 games with four homers before being injured.
Alderson has raised some concerns about disrupting the catcher/pitcher relationship during a season. But the Mets’ offensive production from catcher has been so poor that they are willing to replace Mike Nickeas to get better sock against lefty pitching.
Colorado officials have suggested the Mets would be interested in expanding a trade to include lefty reliever Matt Reynolds. But Mets sources say that does not currently interest them.Follow @NYPostsports