In addition to claiming the Mets had made a $38 million posting bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka’s negotiating rights, the New York Daily News’ Bill Madden writes “the re-signing of Orlando Hernandez yesterday for two years, $12 million (which presumably includes vacation pay) and the anticipated return of Tom Glavine essentially gives the Mets the same group of starters they were prepared to go to battle with in the playoffs, with Mike Pelfrey slated to replace Steve Trachsel.”

Would they like to have a 28-year-old Barry Zito (above) somewhere in the top of the rotation mix with Glavine, El Duque and Oliver Perez? Do they have the financial flexibility to add another top-of-the-rotation starter? The answer to both questions is yes. But as GM Omar Minaya explained yesterday: “We’re going to check in on the free agent pitching market and if something makes sense we have the financial ability to be there. But we keep hearing it’s going to be an over-priced market and (by re-signing El Duque) we’ve protected ourselves today.”

Translation: The Mets expect Zito’s agent, Scott Boras, to be demanding No. 1-type money, $14 million to $15 million per year, for the curve-balling lefty, whereas they view him as a $10 million to $11 million-per-year pitcher

Along with retaining Mike Mussina, the New York Post’s George King reports the Yankees are amongst Gil Meche’s many suitors, and are also contemplating a trade of the recently acquired Humberto Sanchez.

Since the pitching market is depressed, the only AL East team that doesn’t have an interest in Meche are the Devil Rays. Everybody else is intrigued by Meche’s stuff, which has resulted in a 55-44 career record to go with a 4.65 ERA. This past season pitching for a team that went 78-84, Meche was 11-8 with a 4.48 ERA and made $3.7 million.

Since the Yankees view him as a fourth/fifth starter, they won’t get into a silly bidding war fueled by a team (Baltimore?) that needs Meche to pitch higher in the rotation.

Meche missed the entire 2001 season due to shoulder surgery and pitched in the minor leagues the following year. Yet, since 2003 Meche has made 113 starts (28.3 per season).

Dodgers reliever Joe Beimel, he of the mysterious late night injury during the NLDS, tells the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke that he’s quit drinking and has a new tattoo.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Todd Zolecki reports that Scott Graham will not be returning to Phillies broadcasts in 2007. Though the Phillies are meeting with Alfonso Soriano today, but GM Pat Gillick, speaking with the Inquirer’s Jim Salisbury, already seems to be lowering expectations.

“It’s crazy,” Gillick said of the market. “You don’t like to tie up your situation for a long period of time. You’ve got to think down the line and what it could do to you. We’re kind of working ourselves out of some situations like that now. But this is a very volatile market.”

Asked if he was confident that he will come away with a power bat to protect Ryan Howard by the end of the off-season, Gillick said: “I’m more optimistic than pessimistic, but not overly optimistic.”