So, who benefits most from the Mets’ signing Jose Offerman to a minor league contract yesterday? Is it:

1) Fatalistic Mets fans searching for proof — by way of the team’s continued and continually puzzling taste for grumpy and unproductive pinch-hitters in their late 30s — that perhaps, to paraphrase 2005’s slogan, “Last Year Is Now.”

2) Norfolk Tides fans who, after starting the year without a marquee attraction, will soon get J-Off’s megawatt star power and signature deadpan expression.

3) Jeff Keppinger, line drive-hitting Norfolk second baseman, who now knows that if he goes on a crime spree because Offerman is called up to New York before him, no court in the U.S. would convict him.

According to the Connecticut Post’s Rich Elliot, the real winners may be fans of the Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish, who kind of dodged a bullet on this one:

The call Offerman, 37, was waiting for came Monday. And Tuesday morning he informed (Bluefish GM Charlie) Dowd that the New York Mets had signed him.“It would have been terrific,” Dowd said of landing Offerman. “But he even said ‘Charlie, it’s a chance to get a ring.’ How can you blame a guy?”

“He framed it as bad news,” Dowd said. “I said, ‘no, it’s good news. I’m happy for you.’ He’s a great guy. He’s a quality guy. That’s one of the reasons we wanted him back. Aside from the fact that he can play, he’s a really good guy who I think really enjoyed being here.”

Jose will not be on hand tonight when the Bluefish take on the Newark Bears.