Was Jae Seo’s amazing performance against Chicago yesterday the harbinger of things to come, or will the Mets continue to treat him like, well, someone less worthy than Aaron Heilman? Newsday’s Wally Matthews thinks it over :

Why did the Mets waste precious games in July on Kaz Ishii when you had a talent like Seo toiling in Norfolk all along?

It also was the one question no one involved in the decision-making process seemed to want to answer. Had the Mets waited too long to determine that Ishii is not the answer and that perhaps Jae Seo, who often was just Seo-Seo, is?

Typically in baseball, you never make a decision until you have to make a decision, pitching coach Rick Peterson said.

But with only eight weeks of baseball left and four teams still standing between the Mets and October baseball, had the time for this decision already come and gone?

“Never second-guess myself,” manager Willie Randolph said somewhat testily. “Never do that. Who knows if [Seo] would have thrown that well a month ago?”

“That’s not a question for me,” Peterson said. “That’s a front-office question. That one you’ll have to ask Omar.”

“What took so long,” said Omar Minaya, the GM who finally pulled the trigger on Ishii and brought back Seo on Friday, “is that Ishii kept teasing us. He’d go good outing, bad outing. We always wanted to believe the good outings. We decided we’d give it to the end of the first half. And then, just when we were about to make the move, Ishii had a couple of good outings and Seo had a couple of bad outings.”

The pitching lines of both men do not quite bear out Minaya’s version of events – Seo’s worst outing of the year came July 16 and Ishii remained consistently bad.

Judging by the Mets’ faith in him, a return to form by Trachsel probably means a return to Norfolk for Seo. After all, Seo’s last outing as a Mets starter, on May 4, was a seven-inning one-hitter against the Phillies in which he struck out eight and lowered his ERA to 2.00. His reward was a one-way ticket back to Norfolk because Ishii, who had been sidelined with a strained back muscle, was about ready to return.

Yesterday, there was little indication that the Mets’ regard for Seo had changed very much. Before the game, Randolph was asked what he expected to see from Seo. “I’m watching just like you, bro,” the manager said.

Afterward, he acknowledged liking what he saw. But how much more of it will we see?