Jan 19

Sheets: Risk/Reward.

The more I think about it, the more I believe there is an upside to signing Ben Sheets. Yes, he has an injury history, but his history also includes 31 starts and 198 innings last season with Milwaukee.

The market is running away from Sheets, but the Mets should be able to sign him to a year plus an option with a contract loaded with incentives. If Sheets proves healthy, he’d be a great pick up.

Of course, signing Sheets shouldn’t be the Mets only move with spring training a month away. There’s still Randy Wolf and Andy Pettitte to consider, not to mention Oliver Perez. Remember, we’re talking about the fourth or fifth starter, so I wouldn’t dismiss Pettitte so easily.

Jan 14

Santana: WBC is Mets’ call.

SANTANA: WBC up in the air.

SANTANA: WBC up in the air.

Johan Santana plans to represent Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, but said that won’t be his call.

“It will be a medical decision,’’ Santana said this morning in a conference call. “The team will need to approve it. … There are a lot of things here that the Mets want to protect, and if they don’t want me to play I will not play.’’

Santana had arthroscopic surgery in October to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and has not begun his off-season throwing.

He will be examined next week in Port St. Lucie, and then could begin a long-toss throwing program.

“I want to play, but at this point I don’t really know what’s going to happen,’’ Santana said. “If everything is not right they will not let me go.’’

Jan 13

Braves get Lowe. What’s next?

Sixty million over four years got it done for Derek Lowe with the Braves. The Mets were a year and $24 million short. Oliver Perez, who should feel unwanted right about now, wants four years and the Mets are at three.

Ben Sheets is still out there, injured arm and all. So are Pedro Martinez and Randy Wolf. Whatever the signing, it has been a disappointing winter for the Mets regarding their starting pitching.

The Mets entered the offseason wanting to address their bullpen, but that includes getting starters capable of eating innings. It is not unfair to attach questions to four of the five starters after Johan Santana.

Mike Pelfrey: Will he continue to progress or hit a wall, which often happens in a pitcher’s development.

John Maine: Coming off surgery.

Tim Redding: A .500 pitcher last year with a lifetime losing record. OK, for a fifth starter, but the expectations could rise.

Fifth starter: To be determined. Jon Niese will compete. Bringing back Martinez might have to be the plan.