(above : Mets C.O.O. Jeff Wilpon surveys construction of a future venue for the Dave Matthews Band)

When Darryl Strawberry is willing to bite the Wilpon-feeding-paws by declaring the Mets’ off-season less than spectacular, that’s a pretty fair sign Omar Minaya’s winter haul of Jason Bay and uh, R.A. Dickey, has left media and fans alike not quite blown away.  Murray Chass rang a few unidentified player representatives for their take on the Mets’ tentative approach, and the replies are fairly damning.

More than one agent cited the Mets™ inability to deal with more than one free agent at a time as the primary reason they lost out on free agents. œWe™re interested in your guy, more than one agent recalled the Mets saying, œbut we have to deal with this other guy first.

In one instance, the Mets were a player™s first choice, an agent said, but he was one or two down on the Mets™ pecking order “ a phrase used by another agent “ and the player and the agent weren™t going to wait for the Mets to deal with them. They went elsewhere.

Another agent said that Omar Minaya, the Mets™ general manager, told him at the winter meetings in December that the Mets would address their catching need in January. œHow can they wait and be sure what will be there? the agent asked.

Another agent called the process frustrating. I have other names for it: foolish, wasteful, destructive, irresponsible, to suggest a few. Surely, a general manager is capable of talking to more than one agent simultaneously, working on parallel tracks, even if one signing depends on another.

Reports and rumors have been almost rampant that Minaya is not running the team™s baseball operations but that Jeff Wilpon, the chief operating officer and son of owner Fred, is. I™d like to believe that because that would explain why the Mets have had such a dreadful winter.