Mets one of eight teams pursuing Isringhausen

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets are reportedly interested in bringing back Jason Isringhausen.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the Mets, desperately in need of another bat, might be willing to trade closer Armando Benitez, who had 43 saves last season. Whether Benitez stays or goes, however, the Mets would still be interested in the free agent Isringhausen, who has served as the closer for the Oakland Athletics for the last two seasons. Isringhausen started his career with the Mets.

The Mets have contacted Isringhausen's agent, the Times reported. Dan Horwits, who represents Isringhausen, told the Times that the Mets are one of eight teams that are interested in the reliever. The Mets could use him as a closer, and even if Benitez stays, Isringhausen could serve as a set-up man. The Mets have also inquired about another Horwits client -- reliever David Weathers -- to help boost the bullpen, according to the Times.

Isringhausen was a highly-regarded Mets prospect as a starting pitcher before injuries slowed his progress. The Mets traded him to Oakland for reliever Billy Taylor in July 1999.

"He's really grown up," Horwits told the Times. "He's totally different on and off the field. But even back then, he loved his time with the Mets."