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duke of dorwood
12-05-2001, 10:19 AM
5, 2001 -- Scott Boras to the Mets' rescue?
Boras, the agent for Barry Bonds, Johnny Damon and Chan Ho Park, said last night that he would be willing to structure a contract to fit the Mets' financial plan.

The Mets have dreamed about Bonds - but co-owner Fred Wilpon wants to keep the payroll at around $95.5 million, relegating Bonds to more of a dream than a reality.

However, if Bonds, 38, takes less money this season and more in subsequent years, it could work into the Mets' salary structure. After 2002, the Mets will open up around $20 million of payroll room just with the contracts of Robin Ventura, Todd Zeile and Edgardo Alfonzo coming due.

They will have to replace these guys, but it does create a big balloon to fit Bonds' fat salary into.

"I could see a structure of a contract that is amenable to the club," Boras told The Post.

Boras is in no way talking discount, but he is willing to be creative.

Even though no serious negotiations have yet to take place, Met GM Steve Phillips has kept in contact with Boras, leaving Met fans with a sliver of hope.

While the Mets have stressed offense, Park could help. Park, a South Korean, brings the added benefit of thousands of extra fans to his Flushing starts. Damon fulfills the team's need for a leadoff/center fielder.

The other Damon-type player out there is Roger Cedeno. If Phillips decides to trade Matt Lawton in a deal for the power-hitting Jeromy Burnitz, Cedeno might be the next move.