As speculation surrounding the Marlins’ winter clearance sale (one very similar to the dump-fest that took place following their ’97 championship) continues, the NY Daily News’ Adam Rubin and Bill Madden are doubtful the Mets will acquire 1B Carlos Delgado.

Delgado’s continued distaste for the Mets should make executives in Flushing wary. He accused the Mets last spring of recruiting him based on shared Hispanic heritage. The recruiting got nasty. When GM Omar Minaya introduced special assistant Tony Bernazard during a face-to-face session at the winter meetings last December, Delgado blurted out: “The highest-paid translator on the planet.” Delgado and Bernazard share Puerto Rican heritage.

Delgado did not get no-trade protection, but his contract severely limits Florida’s options. Delgado’s original four-year, $52 million deal was heavily back-loaded, with Florida paying him only $4 million last season. Delgado would receive a salary adjustment to account for state income tax in New York that does not exist in Florida, meaning the Mets would be paying Delgado for three years roughly what they originally offered him for four.

“I don’t think anyone will end up happy,” one source said about a Delgado-Mets union.

In addition to Delgado, Beckett and Lowell, the Marlins also are looking to shed the salaries of Castillo at second base and Paul Lo Duca behind the plate.

With the Mets in the market for both a catcher and a second baseman, it’s relatively certain Minaya has also made inquiries about both of those two.

The Mets have three prime chips in pitchers Aaron Heilman and Jae Seo and second baseman Anderson Hernandez (above).

On XM this morning, the intensely plugged-in Buck Martinez seemed rather certain that if the Marlins complete the Beckett/Lowell for Hank Blalock trade, Texas’ current third-baseman is unlikely to make it to spring training without being traded again.