From David Lennon in Wednesday’s edition of Newsday :

After losing out on Carlos Delgado, the Mets were on the verge of completing a trade last night for the Red Sox’ Doug Mientkiewicz, the first baseman who caught the last out of Boston’s historic World Series win and has refused to give up the baseball.

The Mets wanted a defensive specialist, and their No. 1 choice is Mientkiewicz (above), who won a Gold Glove with the Twins in 2001.

With Kevin Millar getting the nod at first base, Mientkiewicz is expendable, and the baseball fiasco has made him an unpopular man in Boston. The Orioles, who also fell short on Delgado, were in talks for Mientkiewicz, but the Red Sox think they have a better match with the Mets.

General manager Omar Minaya would say only that the Mets were “close” to getting a first baseman, and he expected the deal completed in the next 24 hours.

Though the words “defensive specialist” and “Mets’ seem to go together as well as “Kaz Matsui” and “shortstop”, Mientkiewicz is the real deal in the field. He’s also, unfortunately, a slight improvement over Jason Phillips at the plate, and with talk that the Rangers are closing in on Magglio Ordonez, the very spectre of Sammy Sosa in a Mets uniform ought to kill much of the optimism generated over the past few weeks. If Fred Wilpon ruled out A-Rod because New York couldn’t tolerate a “24 and 1” atmostphere in the clubhouse, should the Mets principal owner feel any more optimistic about Sosa and Pedro Martinez as the veteran leadership come Opening Day?