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Mets GM Omar Minaya today began reaching out to the agents for free-agent closers Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes, SI.com has learned. The Mets are intent on landing an elite closer after their bullpen was the main culprit in their second straight September disappointment. It is believed Rodriguez is favored slightly over Fuentes, but they consider either pitcher an excellent candidate to take injured closer Billy Wagner's spot.


The Mets seem willing to consider Kerry Wood, as well, but have concerns about his past health issues.


The Rangers, Indians and perhaps Brewers are among other teams that may be in the market for a closer.


It appears now that the Mets are far more likely to go the free-agent route to land their closer than the trade route. They've talked to the White Sox about Bobby Jenks and to the Mariners about J.J. Putz but are not enamored with the idea of giving up multiple top prospects in a deal for a closer. The Mets' best prospects are outfielder Fernando Martinez and pitcher Jon Niese followed by pitchers Bobby Parnell and Eddie Kunz.


It is believed Minaya begun laying the groundwork with agents today to meet at the Winter meetings, which begin Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, Nev.

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