Mets meeting in the suburbs

The Mets will convene upon suburban Westchester County for a series of organizational meetings beginning Wednesday, with deals for Pedro Martinez and Sammy Sosa expected to be key points of discussion.

A gathering of Mets executives led by general manager Omar Minaya certainly have a lot to discuss as they plot a blueprint for the upcoming winter meetings, which begin Dec. 10 in Anaheim.

The Mets have a standing $37.5 million offer on the table to Martinez that would make him the team's ace through 2007, although a source close to Martinez told the Associated Press Tuesday that the free-agent righthander is in no hurry to accept the deal.

Instead, Martinez is expected to wait and see what the Red Sox offer as a counterproposal – Boston will almost surely need to improve upon their original offer of two years and $25.5 million, and while the Red Sox may be willing to guarantee a third year in order to keep Martinez, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday that the team has decided against giving Martinez a fourth year.

That could be a possible leg up in the negotiations for the Mets and Minaya, who conceivably could land Martinez if he guaranteed the 2008 season. However, that would stick the Mets with Martinez through the age of 37, and the hurler is already considered by some to be in decline: he has been pitching with a partially torn labrum since at least 2001, and in 2004 posted a career-high 3.90 ERA as part of his 16-9 campaign.

It is also believed that Martinez would like to see how dealings proceed with the New York Yankees, specifically the club's pursuit of Arizona Diamondbacks ace Randy Johnson. Martinez met with George Steinbrenner and Alex Rodriguez last month in Florida, and while interest on both sides is shaky, it is thought to exist in some form.

Minaya and the Mets are also expected to discuss their pursuit of outfielder Sammy Sosa, which has been characterized as fading quickly. The Mets have decided that they will not take on an extravagant sum of money to bring in Sosa, which leaves the onus on the Chicago Cubs to assume cash in the contract if the team wishes to part ways with the 36-year-old slugger.

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