Slammin' Sammy at Shea?

Will Sammy Sosa be blowing his trademark kisses skyward around Shea Stadium next season? <P> It's beginning to look like more of a reality with each passing day, as pieces of the puzzle that could put the slugger in a Mets uniform by Opening Day continue to fall into place.

The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reported Saturday that the MLB Players Association is considering allowing Sosa to nix an $18 million club option for 2006 that is scheduled to kick in only if the outfielder is traded.

With Sosa already due $17 million for 2005, the Mets have made it clear that they will not take on that additional payroll in a trade. But Sosa has also made it clear that he is unhappy in Chicago – he walked out on the club's regular season finale on Oct. 3 and later complained about rough treatment from manager Dusty Baker – and it is believed that the Cubs have made ending Sosa's stay in the Windy City a priority.

That could play into the hands of new Mets GM Omar Minaya. Almost since the very moment he took control of the Mets in September, rumors have cropped up that Minaya would have an eye on Sosa, the Dominican-born slugger whom Minaya played a significant hand in landing two decades ago for the Texas Rangers.

In exchange for Sosa, the Mets are believed to be willing to part with outfielder Cliff Floyd, who is due a total of $13 million through 2006. The power-hitting Floyd was a stand-up presence in the Mets' clubhouse, but his outspoken nature and troubles in staying healthy are believed to have soured some in the organization.

The Mets are already without a right fielder, as Richard Hidalgo has filed for free agency and it is not certain if the team wishes to bring him back. New York has rookie Victor Diaz on board as a fallback option, but the star power Sosa would bring to the team is undeniable.

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