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Mets morning briefing 2.16.10

Bernard Madoff offering character endorsements of the Wilpons and Saul Katz. Donald Trump willing to perhaps buy the Mets outright. K-Rod's Lamborghini reporting on a flatbed truck, ahead of the closer. And one-third of Generation K auditioning and then signing with the Mets. Nothing like a sleepy Tuesday in Port St. Lucie.

Now on to Wednesday ... when Francisco Rodriguez is expected to be at the complex to answer questions, presumably including whether he thinks the Mets will do funny business to have him avoid finishing 55 games. Perhaps there will be a Johan Santana sighting, too.

Today is physical day, so the workout is technically optional. First official pitchers and catchers workout is Thursday.

Here's a review of the coverage in the morning papers:

• Of course, biggest story of the day is The New York Times' prison interview with Madoff, where he says the Wilpons and Katz "knew nothing" about the fraud. Mike Lupica in the Daily News vouches for Madoff's character reference of the Mets' ownership family, and writes the Times is on a crusade with Picard to discredit the family.

• With Jason Isringhausen officially on board with a minor league contract and invite to big league camp, Newsday's Jim Baumbach tracked down fellow Mets Generation K member Bill Pulsipher, who lightheartedly said: "You never know. Maybe we'll get a chance to get the band back together. ... Anywhere I go, when somebody starts talking about my career, it obviously always goes back to me, Izzy and [Paul] Wilson. I would like to be able to say things turned out differently. We couldn't help the injuries and all that. But it's still something I'll take with me for the rest of my life." The Isringhausen signing really is no risk. He's on a minor league deal, so the cost is minimal if Isringhausen underwhelms.

Brian Costa in The Wall Street Journal notes Isringhausen is returning from his third Tommy John surgery. ... David Waldstein in the Times recalls the trade of Isringhausen to the A's in July 1999 with Greg McMichael for Billy Taylor. Writes Waldstein: J.P. "Ricciardi was the assistant to Oakland general manager Billy Beane at the time and recommended converting Isringhausen to a closer, where he finally lived up to his promise with the A’s, and later the St. Louis Cardinals." ... Here are the takes of the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Bergen Record and Post.

• The Times also delves into Trump's interest in the Mets. It notes MLB has rules against owners having an interest in a gambling establishment, so Trump would "have to sell his small stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts, which has an interest in casinos in Atlantic City." Authors Alison Leigh Cowan and Ken Belson report former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato recommened to Trump to pursue ownership, and that a call was placed to the Wilpons two weeks ago, but no meeting had yet taken place. The article goes on to suggest that Trump could even keep the Wilpon family involved in operating the team, such as Jeff Wilpon remaining with the organization in a leadership role, even if Trump bought out the family outright.

Trump then told Dan Mangan of the Post: "Fred Wilpon is a good friend of mine. Anything I can do to help Fred, I'd love to do. ... We'll see what happens. It's going to take a long time for [the Mets] to work out the situation." Contrary to the first report, Trump wasn't completely insistent on having a majority share, although he allowed: "My history is I control things."

• It had been said before, but Sandy Alderson reiterated Tuesday that there would be no contract extension for Jose Reyes considered in spring training. At least, Alderson said, it was "unlikely." Here are the takes from the Post, Newsday, the Daily News and The Wall Street Journal. Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger reminds everyone Reyes said last month that “I don’t want to talk about any contract during the season.” Which I guess means this will wait until October. Or it won't.

Jerry Manuel surfaced on MLB Network and said: "I think the best baseball is ahead of Jose Reyes. I think Jose Reyes is a stallion. He's out of control at times, that's due to anxiety, not [lack of] intelligence. ... All he needs is responsibility for the maturation process. He wants to be the best.''

• Apparently, early this winter, Daily News beat writer Andy Martino said he would wear a Speedo if the Phillies signed Cliff Lee. He copped out, but that was probably a good thing.

BIRTHDAY: Bill Pecota, who played in 117 games for the Mets in 1992 and hit .227, was born on this day in 1960.