Rumors abound that the Expos will finally dump Bartolo Colon's salary and that the Red Sox will finally acquire Colon's services for 2003. The newest rumor is that the Mets will be involved and that they will receive Shea Hillenbrand. It makes sense for the Mets because they need a third baseman. It makes sense for the Red Sox because they need a pitcher and wouldn't mind losing Hillenbrand. It makes sense to Montreal because they have been instructed to cut salary. It makes sense forMLB, because it makes John Henry happy.
The only thing that has not been disclosed is what the Mets will be willing to give the 'Spos in return. The Expos had been asking for both Hillenbrand and Casey Fossum from teh Sox. I cannot see many players that the Mets could pry off their roster and the Expos could fit within their payroll to be able to consumate the deal. As far as position possible players, the only two I could think of were Timo Perez and Ty Wigginton. Wigginton would be interesting because the Expos have been trying to move third baseman Fernando Tatis' contract as well. A deal that sent Colon and Tatis to Boston, Hillenbrad to the Mets, and Wigginton to the Expos would make sense in this topsy-turvy offseason. Dumping salary balances out the loss of talent. Alas, the Sox are set to sign Bill Mueller to play third, so a rotating third sacker deal probably won't happen. Timo Perez is a possibility since the Expos need a left fielder. The Mets could move Roger Cedeno to center and play Cliff Floyd in left and Jeromy Burnitz in right. The Mets are trying to move Burnitz but may have to resign themselves to keeping him.
There is always the possibility of a young pitcher (like Mike Bacsik, Jason Middlebrook, or Pat Strange) being moved in the deal as well. Whoever it is, the deal does blow a giant hole in the Expos' rotation for this season. Of course as a Phillies fan, I hope the Mets do it. The Mets will pass on Jose Hernandez and Tyler Houston at third, and Hillenbrand will Scotty Cooper his way into oblivion in a few years. Of course, it does obviate shifting light-hitting Rey Sanchez to third, a move I have been salivating over ever since I sniffed rumors of it.