It's very funny, Yesterday I was reading Joel " The Hack" Sherman's column in the New York Post yesterday which asked a pretty incendiary - yet relevant question. Is the contract offer that the Mets extended to Jason Bay a legitimate offer - or is it a smokescreen to try to placate a restless fan base even though they really have no intention to really sign him? In my honest opinion I feel that the Mets ownership ( Happy Hanukkah Fred & Jeff) realizes that the fans are going to stay away in droves if the 2010 roster goes unchanged ( aside from minor tweaks). I feel the Wilpons are desperately afraid of bad publicity - especially after last season and in order to get asses in the seats ( to justify the price for sticker shocked patrons to Citi Field) and they know that they need to go after at least one of the Big three of Jason Bay, John Lackey or Matt Holliday- and sign or trade for some second tier complementary players. But lets face the truth over here, where there is smoke there is fire. The Mets brass have done this before. Look at the winter of '00, We just lost the World Series to our cross town rivals, the New York Yankees the big fish on the market that off season was A-ROD. Before the and right after the off season concluded, speculation was the Mets would be the odds on favorite to land him. But the Mets were extremely gun shy in terms of his asking price and never even tender him an offer. Then G.M., Steve " Douche Bag" Phillips uses the now infamous excuse that they didn't want a 24 plus one type of situation on their roster ( but we all know it was that Fred Wilpon choked on his Fillet Mignon when he heard of A-RODS salary demands!). Also in that free agent class you had both ace pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles , Mike Mussina and power hitting first baseman Jason Giambi . The Mets gave the appearance of being in deep negotiations with both players but ultimately they signed with the Yankees. The reason why the Mets didn't sign either player according to Phillips was that they made a "competitive" offer to both players - but ultimately they had the second best offer on the table ( very convenient if you ask me ). Next up lets look at the case of Vlad Guerrero. The Mets just came off a atrocious 2003 season and the best free agent power hitter on the market was Vlad . The Mets fans were salivating for him , feeling that his bat could power that team back to respectability. The front office did have discussions with his agent, but shied away from his contract demands by using the excuse that they were concerned about his back and that they didn't think he could perform to a high level during the length of the contract that he desired . To make a long story short , California Angels owner, Arte Moreno signed him to a big contract, and Vlad won the MVP that season and has produced on a high level until this past season when injuries and age finally caught up to him.So the question is do I believe the Mets are serious about signing Jason Bay ? I believe the answer is yes - they just have to strike while the iron is hot and lock him up before another team swoops in to sign him. - and no I wasn't the second shooter on the grassy knoll !!                                                                                                                                                               Conspiracy Theory - Buy ...                                                                                                                                                           "Are the Mets conspiring against us fans ?"With that said, ON WITH THE INFAMY !!!!Sadly on this date in 1992 the Mets best pitching coach - Rube Walker passed away.New York Mets traded outfielder Jim Gosger and infielder Bob Heise to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Ray Sadecki and outfielder Dave Marshall on December 12, 1969.Today was a truly INFAMOUS day - 34 years ago the Mets traded fan favorite Rusty " POPPA" Staub and minor league pitcher Bill Laxton to the Detroit Tigers for pitcher ( and malcontent) Mickey Lolich and outfielder Billy Baldwin on December 12, 1975.New York Mets traded outfielder Gene Clines to the Texas Rangers for Joe Lovitto on December 12, 1975.New York Mets traded pitcher Roy Lee Jackson to the Toronto Blue Jays for utility-man Bob Bailor on December 12, 1980.New York Mets signed free agent relief pitcher Orlando Mercado of the Minnesota Twins on December 12, 1989.New York Mets traded former 5 tool outfielder Alex Ochoa to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Rich Becker on December 12, 1997.New York Mets signed free agent José " The Stache" Valentin of the Los Angeles Dodgers on December 12, 2005. Great pickup - one of the keys to the successful '06 season.New York Mets traded reliever Scott Schoeneweis to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Connor Robertson on December 12, 2008.And remember - there are only 114 days until the Mets open the 2010 season against the Florida Marlins at Citi Field.