(the selection of available Billy Wagner jpgs just isn’t doing it for me today, so you’ll have to settle for Richard Wagner, instead)

The hardcore amongst you probably learned of this about 9 hours ago, so apologies for the redundancy. The Newark Star-Ledger’s Don Burke writes that much the way Omar Minaya went above and beyond financially to win the services of Pedro Martinez, the Mets GM is ready to do much the same in order to secure his closer of choice.

The Mets are prepared to outbid the Philadelphia Phillies — and every other team, for that matter — in their pursuit of free-agent closer Billy Wagner. Whether they land him or not will depend on whether Wagner, who makes his home in gentile Charlottesville, Va., would rather pitch in Philadelphia, where he has comfortably spent the last two seasons, or relocate to New York. It surely won’t, the Mets believe, come down to money.

If they haven’t done so already — general manager Omar Minaya and his staff have gone underground since their return home late Friday from last week’s GM meetings and their home visits with free-agent catchers Bengie Molina and Ramon Hernandez — the Mets could make an offer to the 34-year-old left-hander as soon as today.

Philadelphia, with a new GM in Pat Gillick, is scheduled to meet with Wagner and his agent on Wednesday. The club has already made an “informal” offer of two years with an option for a third year that will vest based on his number of appearances. The Mets are willing to guarantee three years at $10 million each and, if necessary, throw in a fourth. It was that guaranteed fourth year Pedro Martinez away from the Boston Red Sox last winter.