Newsday’s Anthony Rieber on the Marlins’ efforts to roll out the red carpet for free agent 1B Carlos Delgado.

The Marlins hosted Delgado and agent David Sloane for nearly six hours in Miami. Florida trotted out a nine-person recruiting party that included owner Jeffrey Loria, manager Jack McKeon and former Met Al Leiter.

Delgado dined at Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant in Miami Beach, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and found a three-year, $35-million offer on the table along with the $49.95 Alaskan king crab claws.

“A month ago, if someone would have asked me about the Marlins, I would have said they were a longshot,” Sloane told the Sun-Sentinel. “After the meeting we had, I’d say the Marlins are anything but a longshot.”

On Thursday in San Juan, Mets general manager Omar Minaya and executive vice president Jeff Wilpon headed a four-man delegation that met Delgado, but not Sloane, for less than 30 minutes – not even enough time for a decent crab cake sandwich or for the Mets to increase their initial offer of three years and less than $30 million.

That might come when Fred Wilpon and Sloane sit in the same room; Sloane and Minaya continue to talk and a meeting with the Mets’ owner seems likely. Texas and Baltimore also are players for Delgado, 32, who hit .269 with 32 homers and 99 RBIs for Toronto in 2004.

Sloane said Delgado, a lifelong Blue Jay, does not have a preference in leagues. “He’s only interested in the American and National,” he said last week in an e-mail interview.

Good to know that Carlos is ruling out the fledgling World Baseball League. But seriously, if Delgado wishes to play in the peace & quiet of a nearly deserted football stadium, Miami is the smart choice.