Jan 29

Mets interested in Pedro

MARTINEZ: One more year?

MARTINEZ: One more year?

I remember talking with Pedro Martinez the last day of the season and him telling me he never felt ready between rehabbing injuries and taking time off to visit his ailing father.

“I don’t want to leave this way,” Martinez told me then. “I didn’t feel right this year. I know I can still pitch.”

Martinez had his moments last season, both good and bad, but a guy with his heart shouldn’t be easily dismissed. If his pride lets him be a fourth or fifth starter, then he’s worth it. Let’s face it, could he be any worse than Freddy Garcia or Tim Redding?

There’s a report out of the Dominican Republic that has Omar Minaya meeting with  Martinez about bringing the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer back for an encore to his four-year, $53 million contract.

Let’s face it, the Mets aren’t set with their rotation. With no assurances they’ll re-sign Oliver Perez, bringing back Martinez in a stop gap role makes sense. He’s not the young stud we’d all like, but there aren’t any guarantees Jon Niese is that guy, either.

Jan 28

Are the Mets ready for prime time?

Mets manager Jerry Manuel was in New York the other day at a charity function and was asked about Manny Ramirez. He wants him, but knows it’s not happening.

Said Manuel: “We have to deal with what we have. And, we have a pretty good team.  We feel like we have enough tools to make it to the playoffs.”

Do you agree? As they are comprised now, do you believe the Mets are a playoff team?

Jan 27

Smoke coming from the Perez camp

PEREZ: Get it done.

PEREZ: Get it done.

You would think with less than three weeks before spring training there would be a market for a 27-year-old lefthander who throws heat.

There’s not.

If Oliver Perez were to get five years as agent Scott Boras wants, he would have gotten them by now. A combination of Perez’s wildness, his agent, and perhaps the prevailing thought he’d always wind up with the Mets is keeping teams at bay.

C’mon, let’s cut through the smoke. Give him three years at $12 million each with an option for a fourth year, and get this thing done.

I spoke with Boras this summer when the Mets were in LA and remember him telling me Perez wasn’t erratic. I didn’t believe him then and I don’t believe him now. If Boras really had that much faith in his client, he’d take two years and jump at the chance to do this again when Perez is 29.

Why do you think he hasn’t?

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.”