Odalis, Odalis!

Now that it looks like Pedro played Omar and the heady days of Pedro and Whine are already over on the first day of the Winter Meetings, it's time to begin the Odalis Chant because frankly, after the slew of starting pitcher signings, there isn't much left to sort through in the bargain bin.

First of all, when I think about the Mets rotation, which is now, in the absence of Leiter AND Pedro, imponderably pitiable, it appears not only that Omar has stumbled right out of the blocks, but that they need someone to fill in the rotation either as a number one or a number two starter.

When considering the inevitable shift to Odalis, it should be remembered that Odalis is NOT a number one or number two starter. Part of the attraction of Odalis was that he might be a decent pitcher and he might be a bargain.

Well, he probably won't be a bargain any longer. With the market already established through the signings of Jaret Wright and Jon Lieber, both for three-year, $21 million deals, the Marlins going hog-wild on the 39-year-old Al Leiter to the tune of $8 million, and the Twins spilling $18 million of blood for two years of Brad Radke, the ranks are thinning quickly and more teams than just the Mets are left pushing an empty cart.

And frankly, at any price, a starting rotation of Glavine, Odalis, Benson, Trachsel and Zambrano is making me feel nauseous already.

What this really boils down to is that it's time for Omar to earn his money.

At the moment, he's got in Piazza and Cliff Floyd, two Mets he doesn't really want unless he can't get rid of them anywhere else. I wouldn't really call them bargaining chips because no one will want them other than in a salary dump and no one will want them in exchange for a frontline starter.

Probably because he has no other options, Omar is still optimistic:

"It's fair to say that we still have hopes of signing Pedro," Minaya said shortly after the Mets' front-office contingent arrived to the winter meetings with the buzz on that Pedro was reupping with the Red Sox. "We've had conversations with the agent, and until the time he signs, it's an option."

Sweet dreams, Omar.

But time to wake up and sort through the ashes. There is no free agent available who will fit the bill as a number one or two starter. However, there is one pitcher that still appears available in a trade and that is Tim Hudson.

Question is, who would the Mets surrender in return, Hamstring Jose Reyes? The rumour is, he wouldn't even be enough. According to Newsday, Oakland is looking for a top-flight outfield prospect (think Lastings Milledge), a second baseman (Jose Reyes) and a major league-ready starter (take your pick).

That seems pretty steep.

Funny thing is, Omar seems to think they can stand pat as is if need be.

"When we decided to look around and not sign Al, we were comfortable giving Jae Seo or sone of those guys a chance," Minaya said, repeating blasphemies. "We're a team in transition. We're thinking about this year, but we're also thinking about two to three years down the road. We're putting our energy into a lot of different plans and different scenarios. There are different ways of putting a team together and it's not all about one guy."

Well, if we aren't worried about 2005, I guess it really doesn't matter, does it? That's one way of looking at it. Then again, there's always the trouble of getting people to come to Shea to watch A Team In Transition.

Odalis is only 27. He's a lefty and potentially, he could be pretty good down the road if Pitching Coach Peterson can get a read on him. And hey, let's not forget, he's Dominican.


More good news, not only is Pedro almost gone, but Carlos Delgado Isn't Interested either.

So far, the offseason has been a smash for Omar. Let's hope he isn't putting all his eggs in the team-in-transition basket though. We've been in transition for four years running now. Maybe it's time to stop the merry-go-round and get serious.

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