Talks are becoming more serious for free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe, the top starter remaining on the market, and while the Mets have been mentioned most prominently as a suitor for Lowe, they appear to be running behind in the game right now.
The Mets made an offer of about $36 million over three years, as first reported by the New York Times. However, indications are that Lowe isn't seriously considering that proposal, and that several other teams are currently leading the chase.
The Braves, which previously tried for A.J. Burnett, appear to be in the mix, and the Phillies also have shown interest in Lowe. So two of the Mets' chiefs rivals appear to be possibilities.
In addition, the Red Sox have been reported to have some interest, and the Brewers and Angels may also be lurking. The Angels would be something of a surprise since their pitching is already strong and Lowe is thought to prefer the East Coast, but they have yet to make a big acquisition. The Brewers, which already lost CC Sabathia and may lose Ben Sheets, as well, have been talking to some starters but haven't been publicly connected to Lowe to this point.
Lowe is believed to be seeking a salary close to $16 million, so the Mets' initial offer isn't really in the ballpark. Burnett received $82.5 million over five years from the Yankees, who at one time were also talking to Lowe.
While Burnett had a big year in 2008, Lowe has been much more consistent and durable over his career. He's won at least 12 games each of the past seven seasons and thrown at least 199 innings in six of those seven (he threw 182 innings the one year he didn't reach 199).