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I realize that there is a lot of hype regarding the availability of one potential lefthander (Mr. Santana) and what it would cost for most teams to obtain his services.

Although I would have no problem with their obtaining Santana, I have come up with another plan. It seems rather unlikely that the Mets can put together the necessary package, so I have a cheaper potential short-short-term alternative, albeit one with more risk and less ability, but there is reasoning behind the suggestion.

I'm referencing Randy Wolf, a free agent this winter, who could likely (hopefully) easily be had on a one-year flyer at a rather limited cost, since he hasn't made it through a full season without injury since 2003.

Wolf is a good fit for this reason. He's made 13 starts at Shea Stadium since 1999. In that span, he's 6-1 with a 2.61 ERA and a .213 opponents batting average. In 79 1/3 innings pitched, he's struck out 73. He likes pitching there and has said so on numerous occasions. His numbers there recently aren't as good (couple mediocre starts in 2006), but he's never had a start at Shea in which he's allowed more than three runs (for that matter, Santana is 2-0 with an 0.60 ERA at Shea).

Wolf is a (very) poor man's Johan Santana, but you have to figure he'd like the idea of giving the Flushing ballpark a pleasant send-off with a solid season, one that would re-establish him as a pitcher capable of earning a big contract.

You may recall Wolf also thought he found his soulmate on the NYC subways and unsuccessfully enlisted the NY Post and other papers to help find her, though she appears to have walked-off for good.

That's neither here nor there. What Wolf would provide is a nifty insurance policy for the likes of Msrs. Pelfrey and Humber, and allows a backup plan should the need arise to trade one of the young arms once Wolf proves he's healthy.

So maybe before going after Santana like a pack of wolves, perhaps Omar Minaya should consider this move. Call it The Lone Wolf Theory.

True Metwolfs know...Randy Wolf is one of five pitchers to make at least 12 starts in a season without losing a game. He went 4-0 in 12 starts in 2006, with two of those starts coming at Shea Stadium against the Mets. The other pitchers are Noah Lowry (2004, 14), Jason Bere (1999, 14), Kirk Rueter (1993, 14), and Ken Holtzman (1967, 12).


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