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Monday, July 09, 2012

Rumor Mill: Mets have Ramon Hernandez on their radar, but will not pay big for him

According to the NY Post, the Mets have Rockies Catcher Ramon Hernandez on their radar, who was originally signed out of Venezuela by then-A’s general manager Sandy Alderson.

The Mets also are looking at Boston’s Kelly Shoppach and Seattle’s Miguel Olivo as they prioritize finding a righty-hitting catcher with some pop to work in conjunction with lefty Josh Thole.

Colorado really likes Triple-A center fielder Matt Den Dekker and lefty reliever Josh Edgin. But Alderson told The Post last week he could not envision trading any prospects he projects will help the team between now and 2014. 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.

The Rockies also 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’s.

But the Mets view that trio as credible prospects, and — at the moment — cannot imagine dealing any of them for a 36-year-old catcher currently on the disabled list, whom the Rockies are desperate to move.

The Mets see the biggest asset is that they are willing to give Rockies 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. The Mets have shown a willingness to take on most, but not all, of that total.

The Rockies are in a rebuilding mode and are trying to trim the fat (extra salaries) 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 base.

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.

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.

Yesterday's reports 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.

Ramon Hernandez's Career Stats:

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