Mets still an option despite missed deadline

Originally Published: January 24, 2005 news services

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets and Carlos Delgado resumed talks Monday, a day after the free-agent first baseman let the team's deadline for a deal pass.

The Texas Rangers withdrew their offer Sunday night, and Delgado's agent, David Sloane, said the Mets had pulled out, too, although the team said it was awaiting a response. Sloane and the Mets talked again Monday.

Florida and Baltimore also were trying to sign Delgado.

Carlos Delgado
First Base
Toronto Blue Jays
128 32 99 74 0 .269

"I spoke to the Marlins, Mets and Orioles [Monday] regarding our respective proposals," Sloane wrote in an e-mail to the media Monday evening.

"Carlos and I also talked about all three offers. There will be further discussion [Tuesday] with all the concerned parties. Until then, I will have no further comment and will not respond to any e-mails or IM's."

On Sunday night, after a conversation among Sloane, Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and general manager Omar Minaya, New York was unsure where it stood.

"Jeff and I spoke to Mr. Sloane [Sunday night], and we let him know we were trying to get a resolution on this matter this evening," Minaya said in a statement. "He said he would convey those thoughts to Carlos, and he would call us back after speaking with Carlos. We have yet to receive that callback."

The Mets gave a Sunday night ultimatum to Sloane, who balked at the deadline, forcing the Mets to pull their offer.

According to Newsday, both the Orioles and Marlins have similar four-year, $48 million offers on the table to Delgado. However, the Baltimore Sun reported the Orioles haven't offered a fourth year.

With the Rangers, where Delgado would play became an issue Sunday before Texas announced its withdrawal in a statement.

"From the first conversation with the Texas Rangers, we made it crystal clear that Carlos Delgado had no interest in being a full-time DH," Sloane said. "If we had 25 conversations with the Texas Rangers, we were told in 24 of those that the question of him playing first base was no issue. Earlier today, we were told that is changing and that 75 percent of his at-bats, should he choose to sign with the Texas Rangers, would come as a DH.

"After three months of negotiations, we were given less than five hours to tell them yes or no, to make a decision that affects not only the rest of Carlos Delgado's baseball career, but the rest of his life."

Rangers owner Tom Hicks had met with Delgado in Puerto Rico on Friday and offered a $48 million, four-year contract.

"Over the last few days, Tom Hicks and the organization reached out and made a very strong offer to Carlos Delgado," Texas general manager John Hart said. "We had a great meeting with Carlos on Friday where we exceeded the limits of our initial proposal. As of this evening, however, we could not get a commitment from him, so we are withdrawing from discussions with him.

"He is a quality individual, but we want to continue to be committed with our young players and development plan. We have a first baseman in Mark Teixeira and other young players that we do not want to disrupt with potential position changes. Tom Hicks is not, and was not, afraid to spend money to add players like Carlos to our club."

Hicks implied that the Rangers didn't want Delgado to use their offer as a springboard.

"We were clear that we were giving it our best shot Friday at the meeting. Others have now raised their offers, which is why we insisted on a deadline late this afternoon," he said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "We called them this morning to clarify that our interest in Carlos was restricted to him being a DH for 60-70 percent of the time, since we already have a great, young first baseman in Mark Teixeira."

The 32-year-old Delgado would be counted on to fortify the lineup of whichever team he selects. He hit .269 last season for Toronto with 32 homers and 99 RBI. Delgado and outfielder Magglio Ordonez, who is coming off an injury-shortened season with the Chicago White Sox, are the last elite free agents who remain unsigned.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.