The Mets learned Friday they have more than a passing interest in signing CC Sabathia. They were delighted by the very prospect of a Santana-Sabathia tandem. If they could have pulled off the deal for Roy Oswalt a few summers ago, it could have been Santana-Oswalt-Sabathia -- SOS for their opponents. And why not dream?
Turns out it is a dream -- two-thirds of it, anyway. Oswalt never made it to Queens, and from what folks in the Mets hierarchy said Friday, Sabathia won't either -- not because the club doesn't want him, but because it has no intention of making a run at him. A published report said the Mets would.
A person familiar with the club's plans, finances and, in general, fiscal responsibility, said flatly the Mets would not pursue the most attractive pitcher in the 2008 class of free agents.
"It's a business," he said. "The Yankees are going after him. We're not."
A year ago, the Mets eventually came to see Johan Santana as a solution to their problems -- a pronounced need for a No. 1 starter and a need to reiterate to the public their determination to win after their collapse in 2007. The team's situation is different now; they have a No. 1 starter in Santana, and they can demonstrate their determination this time by importing Derek Lowe and either Brian Fuentes or, if his price drops, Francisco Rodriguez.
The Mets anticipate the Yankees paying Sabathia significantly more than the $137.5 million for six years they are contracted to pay Santana. The Mets hardly are questioning the Yankees' "spend money to make money" strategy. The Mets used it themselves in February. Indeed, they paid with talent as well, dealing Carlos Gomez and three others for Santana.
"I'm not sure any club can make that kind of move two years in a row," the Mets source said.
Colleagues know Omar Minaya would love to be in the hunt for Sabathia. But he will be a spectator in this one.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.