Perhaps foreshadowing an ESPN report that has Andrew Marchand claiming knowledge of the Mets being contenders in the Johan Santana sweepstakes, the New York Daily News’ John Harper spoke with another unnamed insider with alleged insight into Wilpon Inc.’s pursuit of the otherworldly left-hander.

One executive who knows Omar Minaya well said yesterday that he believes the Mets’ GM will be “very creative” in pursuing a deal for Santana.”He always wants to do something big,” the executive said, “and this is a time when he needs to do something big. And this is as big as it gets for him. I believe he’ll exhaust every possibility, even if it means getting other teams involved, to make a deal for Santana.”

But would Minaya give up shortstop Jose Reyes to make it happen?

“I know he wouldn’t want to,” said the executive. “But I do believe he’ll think long and hard about it if he absolutely has to. As explosive as Reyes is, Omar needs pitching to win a championship, and it has become so hard these days to acquire front-line pitching that I think he’d have to consider it.”

People in baseball say the Mets do have other young players the Twins would consider, including outfielders Carlos Gomez, Fernando Martinez and Lastings Milledge, and pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Mulvey.

But would some combination of those players get it done? Probably not. With lefthander Francisco Liriano expected back from elbow surgery, the Twins think of themselves as contenders next year and need to bring back players in a deal for Santana they can sell to their team and their fans as ready to help them win.

Metsblog’s D.J. Short, struggling through this afternoon’s “Mike & The Mad Dog” program with the rest of us, points out that while Francesca and Russo seem all too quick to pack Carlos Beltran’s bags, the center fielder has a full no trade clause. There’s also the matter of Beltran making far more money than Minnesota would willingly pay. But who could imagine a guy willing to play in pain, arguably the finest center fielder in club history, would be considered so expendable by a pair of baseball sophisticates like Mike and Chris?