By all accounts, re-signing Oliver Perez is the Mets' top remaining goal now for addressing their starting pitching. The longer Ben Sheets, Andy Pettitte, Randy Wolf and others on the free-agent market, however, the more alternatives the Mets have should talks on Perez hit a snag.

The Mets have begun to discuss the possibility of adding Sheets, according to Newsday, with the idea of snagging what could be a bargain off the market. Sheets is arguably the most prominent free-agent starter left now that Derek Lowe signed with Atlanta, but his history of injuries has held down teams' interest pretty much all offseason.

With about four weeks before pitchers and catchers report, however, the Mets might be willing to raise the question whether that risk/reward balance is now worth a chance. After all, Sheets' 31 starts and 198 1/3 innings marked his highest totals in both categories since 2004. Correspondingly, so was his 3.09 ERA. That's a sizeable upside still out on the market this late in the offseason, but it remains to be seen what kind of contract it would take to lure him.

Given Pettitte's long, illustrious history in New York, a recruitment to come to Flushing might seem logical on some level. However, the Newsday report cites a person familiar with the club's thinking as saying the Mets aren't involved with Pettitte.

The Mets have also been reported among four teams in the mix for free-agent starter Freddy Garcia. Randy Wolf and Jon Garland are also possibilities, according to Newsday.

If Perez and the Mets come to terms, of course, all of this is moot. Yet if a three-year, $30 million contract reportedly isn't enough to bring back Perez, a client of agent Scott Boras, then the Mets will apparently be ready to explore their other possibilities.