Mets not looking to spend at GM Meetings, but open to trades
The Mets might want to enlist Monty Hall’s services over these next three days for the desert version of “Let’s Make a Deal.”
Though Sandy Alderson is unlikely to leave these General Managers Meetings — which begin today and run through Friday — with new players, the Mets GM will almost certainly have a better feel for the trade market in what could be an active winter for his club.
The Mets, with an eye on keeping the payroll around $100 million for next season, will not be major players in free agency, but that won’t prevent them from trying to get creative in trades.
Top pitching prospects Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are the untouchables when discussing trades with the Mets, a club source confirmed yesterday. Otherwise, anybody in the organization is available.
For now, at least, David Wright and R.A. Dickey belong to the list of attainable players, as both remain unsigned beyond 2013.
In the absence of contract extensions, both players could be traded this winter. A baseball official yesterday predicted Alderson will listen to trade proposals for Wright and Dickey at these meetings, while making it known he is still trying to sign both players. As of yesterday there were no indications the Mets were close to completing a new contract with either.
With the Mets in dire need of outfield help, Alderson is expected to ask about Arizona’s Justin Upton, who is on the trade block. Any discussions would likely begin with Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers asking for a return package that includes Jon Niese.
The 26-year-old Niese is probably the Mets’ most valuable trade chip — excluding Wright — after a season in which the lefty went 13-9 with a 3.40 ERA. He also could be deemed a bargain, having signed a five-year deal worth $25.3 million before last season.
Alderson might also check the asking price for Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury and Washington’s Michael Morse, among others.
Trading Ike Davis could bring a sizable return, but the organization is also hesitant to deal a player who hit 32 home runs last season in a lineup starved for power. But the Mets also view Lucas Duda as somebody who could potentially become Davis next season, despite the fact Duda slumped badly last summer and was demoted to Triple-A Buffalo before returning in late August.
Duda underwent surgery yesterday in Manhattan to repair a fracture in his right wrist which he suffered moving furniture at his apartment in California last month. The Mets expect him to be ready for spring training in February.
The Mets could also go the trade route for a catcher, as the team seeks either a starter or, at minimum, a right-handed bat to pair with Josh Thole. White Sox backup Tyler Flowers is of some interest to the Mets, according to a source. But the White Sox also might not be in a hurry to deal a catcher with last year’s starter, A.J. Pierzynski, on the free-agent market.
The 26-year-old Flowers hit .213 with seven homers and 13 RBIs in 136 at-bats last season for the White Sox.
More subtly, Alderson also might see if there’s any outside interest in disappointing Jason Bay, who is still owed $19 million. If the Angels are willing to eat a sizable chunk of the $42 million Vernon Wells still has coming, maybe the Mets can find a dance partner.