Press Row: Mets looking at Zito

The Mets' attention will soon shift completely to free agent left-hander Barry Zito, a prime option to upgrade their damaged pitching rotation.

While the team ponders the loss of Pedro Martinez and awaits a final decision from Tom Glavine, who continues to work through what Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon called "a complicated family situation," Zito is on the open market.

Wilpon said Monday at the Citi Field groundbreaking that the Mets have made contact with Zito's agent, Scott Boras. The 28-year-old Zito is expected to fetch one of the highest prices on the market this winter.

Zito went 16-10 with a 3.83 ERA in 34 starts last season for the Oakland Athletics, walking 99 and striking out 151 in 221.0 innings.

With one of the best curveballs in the major leagues and an effervescent personality that would play well in New York, Zito is expected to draw interest from both the Mets and the Yankees, as well as numerous other clubs.

  • Newsday reports that the Mets have also been in contact with the agent for pitcher Miguel Batista, while holding internal discussions concerning free agents Jeff Suppan and Randy Wolf.

  • The New York Post reports that the Mets have also decided to target pitcher Vicente Padilla, and are closing in on a deal that will keep Orlando Hernandez in their uniform for 2007.

  • The Mets will open the 2007 season in a nationally televised game April 1 at St. Louis, meaning the team will have to watch from the dugout as the Cardinals raise their World Championship flag.

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