“Tim Redding, inked to a $2.25 million, one-year deal earlier this week, is a placeholder if there ever were one,” sneers New York Magazine‘s resident Cardinals fan Will Leitch, suggesting the Mets’ failure to cough up the crazy loot for Derek Lowe might have something to do with Fred & Jeff Wilpon (above) being taken to the cleaners by Bernie Madoff. “Two awful ‘collapses’ in two years, and a crosstown rival spending like Brewster™s Millions, it™s a strange time to suddenly become stingy” declares Leitch, who surely ought to wonder if St. Louis’ ownership have been the victims of a Ponzi scheme, too.

The Mets blitzed out of the gate, picking up two of baseball’s top relievers in Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. (Actually at bargain rates, relatively speaking.) But the team still had plenty of needs, particularly in the starting rotation. The obvious target seemed to be Derek Lowe, a big-game, big-city pitcher whose deadening ground-ball presence might be especially needed at the new Citi Field, which Mets players who have tried out the stadium say is a œlaunching pad. (Perhaps the most underreported story of the Mets off-season: That Citi is expected to be a homer-happy park.) But when it came down to it, the Mets weren™t willing to pony up as much as the rival Braves, and now not only do they not have Lowe, they™re going to have to face him four times a year for the next four years.

The Mets didn’t oppose Lowe at all in 2008, but certainly had no problems with him during his last two starts against New York — a 2006 NLDS loss (Oct. 4) and a July 19, ’07 stint in which Lowe allowed 8 earned runs, 10 hits and 3 walks in 3 innings.  It would be foolish to think Lowe would be equally inept 4 times a year versus the Mets next season, but they’re not looking to dodge him like he’s Mike Scott, either.

Perhaps Citi Field’s alleged status as “a homer happy park” has been underreported because some persons who’ve actually researched the topic have come to the opposite conclusion?