As long as you’re not married to him, starter Derek Lowe has been one of the more dependable pitchers in the big leagues over the past decade.  Reliability, however, is not a word often associated with the enigmatic Oliver Perez, whom according to the New York Times’ Jack Curry, might not receive a contract offer from the Mets.

After methodically studying the starting pitchers left on the free-agent market, the Mets have determined that Derek Lowe would be the best addition to their club. The Mets have shown that by offering Lowe a three-year contract for about $36 million, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions.

The Mets do not want to offer Lowe more than three guaranteed years, so if he holds firm in his pursuit of five years and $90 million, he may not be close to signing. Lowe, who turns 36 in June, has averaged more than 200 innings and 15 wins the last seven seasons.

When the Mets pursued the free agent Francisco Rodríguez, they benefited from being one of the only teams willing to spend for a closer. Before the season ended, there was speculation that Rodríguez would get a $75 million deal. The Mets signed Rodríguez for about half that, giving him a three-year, $37 million deal.

The Mets are hoping the same happens with Lowe, and that he eventually falls to them for less than the $18 million a year he is seeking. Boras would not say how many teams had made offers to Lowe, but he said there were more teams involved in talks with Lowe than a week ago.

The Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer reports the Cubs are very close to swapping starter Jason Marquis for Rockies’ reliever Luis Vizcaino, with a a bid for free agent OF Milton Bradley being Jim Hendry’s next move after Marquis’ salary is off the books. If Wittenmyer is correct about the Bradley acquisition, the Cubs will become Milton’s 7th team in 10 years. Which cap will he don on his Anger Management Hall Of Fame Plaque?