OK, I realize the above headline isn’t nearly as provocative as “Duaner May Be A Goner”, but it will have to do.  With a succession of Mets away on WBC duty, Dan Murphy and Bobby Kielty each had a pair of hits in Saturday’s 7-5 loss to Washington, a contest that concluded hours after Johan Santana (above) pronounced himself willing and able to take the ball on Opening Day.  Tim Marchman has previously encouraged Santana to proceed with caution (“I would look at the way Carlos Beltran’s leg spent 2005, Ryan Church’s cross-country flight, and that game from last year where Jose Reyes knocked himself out on some dude’s knee while stealing second base and was kept in the game, and then, after taking my MRI, I’d start to wonder about where to get opinions two through four”), and in a Thursday Q&A with Hot Foot’s Andrew Beaton, takes a rather dim view of the Metropolitans’ 2009 chances (“they™ll win either 88 or 89 games and miss out on a playoff spot on the last day of the season. Not even kidding.”)

Andrew Beaton: Do you believe Omar Minaya and the Mets had a successful off season just because of the revamped bullpen that now features Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, or do you believe that they needed to acquire another front end starter or another top of the order hitter?

Tim Marchman: All Minaya has to do is spend ownership™s money as well as he can, so he had a terrific winter because the easiest problem to fix was the bullpen and he fixed it as well as he possibly could have. The team as a whole had a really lousy winter. Given the way the last two seasons ended and that they™re moving into a new park that™s largely financed with public money it™s just embarrassing that the Wilpons didn™t give Minaya more money for another starter and an outfielder, even if it meant taking a loss. This was their big chance to get rid of the idea that the Mets are a cut-rate, ghetto team and they totally botched it up. A team with four of the top dozen or so players in baseball, the second highest franchise value in the game and a new park, and they™re too cheap to buy a pennant in the best buyer™s market in years. It™s really bizarre.