Mets try to go for three with Delgado

The Mets are going to find out if the third time is a charm with Carlos Delgado, although they may be pressing their luck to do it.

GM Omar Minaya and COO Jeff Wilpon met for three hours yesterday in Puerto Rico with Delgado and his agent, David Sloane, but according to published reports, the Mets went nowhere near the five-year, $80 million offer Delgado is reportedly pining for.

In fact, the Mets may not even have the highest offer currently on the table for Delgado. New York's newest proposal has been marked in various reports as anywhere from $33 to $36 million over three years, possibly a notch beneath the $35 million offer that has been credited to the Florida Marlins and nowhere near the four-year, $45 million offer Newsday reported the Mets were considering.

It's a rare feat of financial restraint for the newly free-spending Mets, who may have finally reached their breaking point after significantly overpaying for Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran.

Still, Sloane expressed optimism in an e-mail he pounded out to several dozen reporters before he and Delgado went to dinner, no doubt to discuss the Mets and Friday's pending meeting with Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks.

"Everything went extremely well," Sloane wrote. "Having Jeff Wilpon join us for this meeting made it possible to discuss the issues regarding our respective proposals that we felt needed clarification.

"The better understanding we now have as to the challenges making this deal presents will certainly make it easier for us to proceed. I anticipate having further conversations with Omar very soon in an attempt to move things forward from here."

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