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Oliver Perez went 10-7 in 34 starts for the Mets last year.
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The Mets continue to negotiate with Oliver Perez in hopes of signing him to a long-term deal, and while people familiar with the situation suggest talks slowed in the last day or two, the Mets still are widely viewed as the favorite to sign the 27-year-old lefthander.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya is also considering three more free-agent pitchers -- Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf and Jon Garland -- but is known to strongly prefer Perez, whom he picked up as a virtual throw-in in the trade that sent Xavier Nady to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2006. Minaya believes that Perez, who went 10-7 last year and is 25-17 over the past two seasons, may have just scratched the surface of his potential and could still blossom into a star, those close to Minaya say.

As SI.com reported, the Mets upped their offer to Perez to beyond $30 million for three years sometime late last week. But talks don't appear to have progressed the last couple days as both sides also weigh other options.

Other suitors for Perez haven't become public, but it isn't a stretch to think there's interest in a young left-hander. The Rangers and Brewers seem to make some sense -- though Milwaukee's higher-ups have indicated in recent days they may not go for a big-ticket signing despite losing CC Sabathia and perhaps Sheets. The Diamondbacks and Dodgers are two more teams looking for pitchers, but both those teams seem strongly inclined to pursue one-year deals with established starters in a very tight starting-pitching market.

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