Jan 27

Resisting Manny ….

RAMIREZ: The image that scares them off.

RAMIREZ: The image that scares them off.

Manny Ramirez is still floating out there, his thundering right-handed bat a temptation 29 teams have managed to resist. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers have an offer on the table, and Ramirez’s refusal of $45 million over two years seems stunningly arrogant considering the line

Nobody knows which.

Last week, Jeff Wilpon told Bloomberg News the Mets weren’t interested, but he wasn’t speaking for manager Jerry Manuel, who, during a TV interview, said he’d love to have Ramirez on his team.

“To have a shot at managing him would be exciting for me,” Manuel said. “I’d love to have the opportunity to watch Manny hit every day.’’

Manuel called Ramirez “one of the best right-handed hitters in our generation,’’ and broached the topic of his reputation with the confidence of a snake charmer.

Manuel is convinced he would avoid this serpent’s tooth.

“I don’t have a problem with people that produce in the form and fashion that Manny Ramirez produces,” Manuel said. “We don’t spend, shouldn’t spend that much time in the locker room, anyway.’’

You don’t?

Players start drifting into the clubhouse five hours before game time, far longer than the time of game. But, if not concerned about the clubhouse, how about the field?

If Ramirez’s stars aren’t all aligned he’s been known to dog it on the bases and give up at-bats. Even though they won two World Series with him, Ramirez had no allies in the Red Sox clubhouse late last summer, including David Ortiz.

Jose Reyes has enough problems maintaining his attention as it is. Do you really want him looking up to Ramirez? And, for the money Ramirez is asking, they can sign a pitcher and a bat such as Adam Dunn.

They’ve resisted temptation so far. Hope they keep that strength.

Jan 26

Heilman: Takes high road when asked about NY.

HEILMAN: Change of scenery.

HEILMAN: Change of scenery.

Aaron Heilman could have ripped the Mets, but took the high road when asked about his time in New York when questioned by The Seattle Times.

“Playing in New York is the only existence I’ve known and I think you get used to it,” Heilman said. “You learn to accept the fact that you are dealing with a very passionate, very knowledgeable fan base. … New York’s one of those markets where unless you win the World Series, it’s not a good year.”

Clearly, Heilman wanted to start, but the Mets valued him in the bullpen. It was always presumed he would have left when he became a free agent. However, the Mets beat him to the punch and included him in the J.J. Putz trade.

“I certainly didn’t look at it as I really wanted to get out of New York,” Heilman told the paper. “I was kind of looking forward to going back and showing that last season was an aberration and to get back to what I normally can do.”

When he’s on his game, and he wasn’t for much of last season, he’s capable of getting hitters out from either side of the plate.

Heilman had productive stretches both in 2007 and last season, but didn’t come close to his 2006 effectiveness. Especially, when it came to keeping the ball in the park.

More than a few times he denied he was scarred by giving up the Game 7 homer in the NLCS.

Jan 25

Utley says he’ll be ready by Opening Day

UTLEY: Says he'll be ready for Opening Day.

UTLEY: Says he'll be ready for Opening Day.

If the Mets were counting on Chase Utley’s hip injury to keep them close to the Phillies out of the gate, they’ve got another thing coming as the All-Star second baseman says he’ll be ready by Opening Day, contradicting initial reports his rehab from surgery would keep him out through May.

Utley has been working out with the Phillies training staff five days a week, and said he’ll be swinging a bat soon.

“In two to three weeks – that would be nice,” Utley said. “If everything goes as planned, that’s what we want to do. And right now, we’re on schedule. … It’s about listening to my body. Right now, we are listening and it’s responding well. If that continues to happen, then I don’t see why I won’t be ready for Opening Day.”

Jan 23

Mets sign Alex Cora

Alex Cora is finally official, being announced to a one-year, $2 million deal by the Mets. The veteran infielder, 33, can play any where in the infield save catcher.

Cora will give manager Jerry Manuel a quality rest for David Wright and Jose Reyes. I know what most of you are thinking: He’ll most likely spend a lot of time at second base.

Cora hit .270 last year at Boston, so he’s not automatic out.

Said GM Omar Minaya: “You win championships with a 25-man roster.”