Plenty of power left on the market

Originally Published: January 18, 2005
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
The New York Yankees added three front-line starters to a team that won 101 games last season. Seattle signed Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre to upgrade the American League's feeblest offense, and San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean picked up a closer, a catcher, a shortstop and an impact outfield bat before New Year's Day. This is what's known in the business as "acting decisively."

But as the Super Bowl approaches, several big-league clubs have prominent holes to fill, or quietly filled them while nobody noticed. Here's a look at 10 areas that continue to generate Hot Stove banter with only a month left until pitchers and catchers report:

1. Mets first base

Carlos Beltran (R) and Omar Minaya
Amazing story: Mets GM Omar Minaya can recruit with the best of them.
After spending $172 million on Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez, the Mets aren't about to enter the season with Jason Phillips at first base. They're working hard on Carlos Delgado, but a source close to the negotiations says that agent David Sloane's expectations for Delgado might exceed what owner Fred Wilpon wants to spend. Unless something gives, the Mets could decide to hold the line and look elsewhere.

General manager Omar Minaya's next best options are trading for Doug Mientkiewicz or signing free-agent Travis Lee. They're both left-handed bats, defensively skilled and reasonably priced. The Mets prefer Lee to John Olerud, and see Mientkiewicz as a better fit than Boston's other available first baseman, Kevin Millar. They could probably land him with a solid minor-league prospect.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer