01/14/09 1:41 PM EST
Mets said to reach deal with Cora
Infielder reportedly to sign a one-year, $2 million deal
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
A blog report on the Web site of Boston radio station WEEI said on Tuesday that the one-year contract was worth $2 million.
Given their druthers, the Mets would have signed Derek Lowe, but he has agreed to bring his sinker and his career to the Braves for $60 million. Their second choice among the three Boras clients is Oliver Perez, a "been there, done that" possibility. Their third choice, Cora, is a 33-year-old, left-handed-hitting infield understudy with a resume of success in that role.
Ideally, Cora will serve as first replacement for Jose Reyes at shortstop, which was filled, for the most part, by Damion Easley the past two seasons. But given Reyes' preference to play every day and the Mets' second-base situation, Cora might find himself on the right side of the infield more often.
With less than five weeks remaining before Spring Training, the Mets seemingly have settled on Luis Castillo as their second baseman. Their preference would be to sign free agent Orlando Hudson, but they won't approach him unless they find a taker for Castillo. Until then -- and that is quite unlikely -- they will hope for Castillo to deliver a renaissance season and be more of an offensive factor than he was in 2008, his first full season with the Mets.
If Castillo's subpar performance persists, Cora could play more second base than he did for the Red Sox in 2005. Then, in the pre-Dustin Pedroia days, Cora started 21 games at second. Since 2006, he has played more at shortstop, starting 107 games there -- 38 last season -- and 43 at second.
Cora batted .270 with a .371 on-base percentage in 179 plate appearances with the Sox last season. Both figures were his best since 2002, when he was the quasi-regular shortstop for the Dodgers.
The Mets still have hopes of re-signing Perez, whose asking price almost certainly increased with the Braves' signing of Lowe. The Mets said Monday they had given Boras "the parameters" of an deal, but made no offer for the 27-year-old left-handed pitcher who produced a 10-7 record and a 4.22 ERA in 34 starts with them last season.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.