The NY Post’s George King and Joel Sherman portray the Mets as legit contenders for the services of Carlos Beltran, a scenario which fantastic though it seems, is no less incredible than the early reports of Omar Minaya wooing Pedro Martinez.

Scott Boras has begun to let teams know negotiations for Carlos Beltran have moved beyond the exploratory stage to the point where firm offers are needed, and the agent firmly believes the Yankees will not be the only New York club interested in his client, according to a person who has been briefed on the discussions.

Mets GM Omar Minaya has made it clear to ownership he wants to bid, and bid aggressively for the star center fielder, and the Boras camp is under the impression that he has gained clout with Fred Wilpon by landing Pedro Martinez when the anticipation was the righty ace would go back to the Red Sox, according to the source.

Perhaps then the Mets could actually steal Beltran from the Yankees when the overall expectation in the sport is that Beltran will wind up in The Bronx.

“I think right now Fred is enamored with Omar for changing the face of the organization, and gaining credibility with Pedro,” the source said. “Omar is pushing like crazy. He wants to bring home a big player.”

It obviously is in Boras’ best interest to get both New York teams bidding against each other to raise the price for his client. Boras could not be reached yesterday.

Boras apparently has told the Yankees, Astros, Mets, Cubs and Tigers not even to bother if they do not offer at least seven years at $112 million. The Yanks have yet to make a firm offer.

An executive for another club said Minaya is definitely trying to make a quick, stealth attack to see if he can land Beltran. Minaya has told upper management that his persona is to be pro-active and that if the Mets get into this that they should not make a low-ball offer, like the organization did last year for Vladimir Guerrero.

The Daily News’ Peter Botte detailed the Mets’ current offer to free agent 1B Carlos Delgado.

First baseman Carlos Delgado indicated that the Mets and Yankees remain two of the four teams in the running to land him as a free agent.

“I’m inclined to seek the opportunity to have a good contract and for being on a contending team,” Delgado said from Puerto Rico. “A good contract means to have a contract to have the opportunity to win, and preferably a multi-year contract of four or five years.”

The Mets initially offered Delgado a three-year deal at the winter meetings nearly two weeks ago and likely would be willing to go beyond $40 million over that time frame. But they’ve been reluctant to offer the same four-year commitment they gave Pedro Martinez.

Delgado, who was participating in a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the Puerto Rican flag in San Juan, said the Orioles and Red Sox are the other teams in negotiations with agent David Sloane. Seattle also had expressed interest, he said, but the M’s dropped out after signing Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre last week.

As for the Yankees, their interest in Delgado likely hinges more on their ability to sign center fielder Carlos Beltran than it does with Jason Giambi’s admitted steroid use. If Beltran signs elsewhere – with the Astros, Cubs and Mets also interested – the Yanks could push to sign Delgado and keep Bernie Williams in center and Giambi as their designated hitter.

Botte also reports that the Mets have signed former Marlins catcher / accused rapist Ramon Castro (above) to a minor league contract.