Still without a team for 2010, there is "increased momentum" toward free-agent right-hander John Smoltz signing with the New York Mets, reports Ken Davidoff of Newsday. The 42-year-old went 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA in eight starts for the Red Sox last season.
The Mets also made a move to shore up their lineup on Thursday, agreeing to a deal to hang on to veteran first baseman/outfielder Fernando Tatis. According to the New York Post, the deal almost certainly means the end of Carlos Delgado's tenure in Queens.
A Smoltz representative admitted to Newsday on Thursday that he has been in touch with the Mets about a contract — the longtime Atlanta Brave and probable future Hall of Famer is expected to be seeking about $4 million for the season — but it's far from a done deal.
There are conflicting opinions on whether or not Smoltz could be leaning toward a return to the Cardinals, with whom he went 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA after leaving Boston in 2009. Smoltz's rejoining St. Louis, though, appears to be less likely given their recent signing of left-hander Rich Hill to a minor-league contract.
Another option altogether could be going the route of Pedro Martinez last season and waiting until midseason to sign with a team in need of a pitcher. That's a distinct possibility, a source tells Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News, and would theoretically allow Smoltz to be at full strength later in the season.
Tatis, 35, who will likely platoon with Daniel Murphy at first base for the Mets and could do spot duty in the outfield, hit .282 with eight homers and 48 RBIs last season.
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