After putting the most money on the table for free agent slugger Carlos Delgado, only to watch the free-agent slugger sign a four-year, $52 million contract with the Florida Marlins, the Mets have reportedly worked out a trade to bring Delgado to New York after all.
According to details first provided by Newsday on its Web site, the Mets have agreed to send first baseman Mike Jacobs and top pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit to the Marlins in exchange for Delgado.
New York will assume all but $7 million of the remaining $48 million on Delgado's contract, the newspaper reported.
Delgado's contract does not include a no-trade clause and the deal is pending physicals on the three players involved. The trade also requires commissioner Bud Selig's approval because of the amount of money changing hands between clubs.
Delgado, 33, batted .301 with 33 home runs and 115 RBI in his only season for Florida after leaving the Toronto Blue Jays, with whom he broke into the majors in 1993.
But after spending all of his career in the American League, the left-handed power hitter became an unpopular figure around Shea Stadium in 2005.
He was booed in each of Florida's games at New York in what appeared to be a reaction to his spurning of the Mets - agent David Sloane, in a series of e-mails, maintained Delgado preferred South Florida for its proximity to Puerto Rico and the Marlins' chances at winning a World Series (in an odd twist, Sloane told ESPN.com that the Mets were out of the sweepstakes before Minaya was actually informed).
That forced the Mets to fill their first base void for Doug Mientkiewicz, who batted just .240 with 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 275 at-bats, losing his starting job to Jacobs at the end of the year.
Also not easily forgotten by fans was an earlier controversy over Delgado's refusing to stand for God Bless America during seventh-inning stretches, a silent protest against what he perceived as baseball being used as a political tool.
One day after reportedly scoring minor leaguers Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado from the Boston Red Sox for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, the Marlins see their youth corps further upgraded with the two imports from New York – players who may serve as useful tools if the Marlins indeed are considering leaving Miami, as has been reported.
Jacobs and Petit were to be ranked No. 4 and No. 5 overall in the Mets system, respectively, by Inside Pitch Magazine in the 2006 Top Prospects guide, and were the highest ranked players at their positions.
The 25-year-old Jacobs batted .310 with 11 home runs and 23 RBI in 100 at-bats. He also scored the Eastern League MVP award at Double-A Binghamton and had been mentioned as recently as Friday by Minaya as a candidate to platoon with Xavier Nady for playing time at first base in 2006.
Petit, 21, is regarded as a deceptive control artist. He went 9-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 21 starts at Double-A Binghamton in 2005, walking 18 and striking out 130 in 117.2 innings, before finishing the year at Triple-A Norfolk.