ORLANDO, Fla. - The Mets' lengthy to-do list includes upgrading at shortstop, bolstering the starting rotation and securing outfielders capable of bringing some thump to the lineup. The team's emphasis is squarely on improving its offense, and according to sources, that means making a play for more power.
Yet general manager Sandy Alderson said yesterday that he likely won't lavish a $100-million contract on any player this season, a declaration that might complicate a critical offseason for the Mets.
Alderson cautioned against "concentrating those kinds of resources in very few players," an indication that he might attempt to address his team's deficiencies by spreading out the roughly $40 million he might have to spend. It also means the Mets likely will be priced out of landing premier free agents such as Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury, outfielders who would have been clear upgrades.
The limitation will force Alderson to show his creativity in using his resources, which comes in the form of cash to spend on free agents and players who could be used as trade chips. "We have more options available to us," said Alderson, who arrived Monday at the general managers meetings. "We talk about the money we have to spend, but in terms of all of our resources, we're in better position."
Early in the process, the Mets already have encountered some intriguing choices, which include possibly plucking Curtis Granderson away from the Yankees and trading the underachieving Ike Davis.
The Mets might meet this week with Granderson, who spurned the Yankees' qualifying offer of $14.1 million Monday. Granderson is coming off an injury-plagued season, which will prevent him from landing a megadeal on the open market, thus keeping him within the Mets' financial parameters.
Two years ago, the 32-year-old was coming off his second straight 40-homer season. Granderson played only 61 games last season and had seven home runs and 15 RBIs. The Mets remain attracted to his power despite his propensity for strikeouts.
Though a team insider acknowledged that his swing might not be ideal for spacious Citi Field, the Mets think Granderson would fit well as a corner outfielder.
He also has shown he can perform through the heightened pressure of playing in New York, which a team official said is an important consideration.
The Mets also might find opportunities to upgrade in the trade market, especially with Davis already drawing interest along with fellow first baseman Lucas Duda. Despite their limitations, both have shown power potential, and other clubs have noticed. But only one can play first base, and the Mets are exploring ways to capitalize on a dearth of power in the market.
The Mets are listening to proposals for both players, according to a team insider.
Duda has attracted interest from American League teams that might use him as a DH. Davis has a 32-homer season on his resume, which a Mets official said "clearly shows that he's a power hitter."
In any case, the Mets have considered waiting on a potential trade to take advantage of a market that increasingly will value power as choices become slimmer.
Notes & quotes: Alderson said he won't rule out interest in players ensnared in the Biogenesis scandal. "Is it a scarlet letter? No, not necessarily," he said. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta is among the free agents who served a Biogenesis suspension . . . According to a team source, the Mets are listening to trade offers for Daniel Murphy. A source said they have reached out to representatives for Marlon Byrd, who led the Mets with 21 homers in 2013 before his trade to the Pirates.