Short of George Steinbrenner buying a 2nd franchise, could there be any more influential event in the recent escalation of player salaries than the Mets’ hiring of Omar Minaya? If the Baltimore Sun’s Roch Kubatko is to be believed, New York’s offer to Carlos Delgado has now hit $50 million over 4 years, outbidding the lucrative pacts proposed thus far by Florida and Baltimore. And coming from the perspective of Delgado and agent David Sloane, this makes perfect sense ; if the Mets had to overpay for Kris Benson, Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, why should Delgado accept a discount?

Fortunate Son Mike Piazza told a conference call of NY reporters that his fractious past with Pedro Martinez will have no influence on their working relationship in 2005. Just to be certain , perhaps Jay Horowitz can take the two superstars out for a bonding session over manicures.