GM Sandy Alderson considering his options with $85-million payroll

Sandy Alderson talks with the media at the Sandy Alderson talks with the media at the annual baseball general managers meeting. (Nov. 12, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy have generated steady interest on the trade market, according to a person familiar with the Mets' thinking. And if the team makes a move at this week's winter meetings, they appear to be the most likely to get dealt.

"Hopefully, within the next couple of days, we will have turned a couple of variables into constants and then we can address some of these other things," Sandy Alderson said Sunday night. "But it's nice to fix one or two things and work off of that as opposed to having so many different possibilities and combinations in play."

The Mets hope to officially announce the signing of outfielder Curtis Granderson at the meetings. The addition of the three-time All-Star fills a power void in the outfield.

However, the team still is in search of at least one starting pitcher, a reliever for the back end of the bullpen and perhaps a shortstop who represents an upgrade over Ruben Tejada.

The general manager acknowledged that some of the Mets' needs might not be met.

"Depending on how things materialize, we may live with certain weaknesses," Alderson said. "The idea is to minimize the number of weaknesses, not necessarily correct all of them . . . So, for example, we could come out of these meetings with Tejada as our regular shortstop. Worse things could happen to us, certainly."

At shortstop in particular, the Mets have been limited by what Alderson called a "thin" free-agent market. Although some teams might entertain dealing a shortstop, Alderson said the trade market is still "less determined but conceivably broader."

Though first baseman Lucas Duda also has been mentioned as a trade candidate, it appears that Davis is more likely to be moved after a season marred by a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. After hitting 32 homers in 2012, Davis hit only nine in 2013.

The Mets also have had dialogue about Murphy, whose .286 average was second only to David Wright's team-high .307.

The free-agent market for starting pitching seems to hold more possibilities for the Mets. However, with what the team considers a healthy number of similar arms below the upper tier of the market, a source said the Mets feel no need to move quickly.

"To replace two spots in the rotation with the kids coming out of our system I think is a little much to expect coming out of spring training," said Alderson, who nevertheless hinted that the Mets aren't in a hurry to pursue a starting pitcher.

Earlier this offseason, Alderson said the Mets will exceed the payroll from last season. On Sunday, he revised that figure from $87 million to $85 million for 2014. Nevertheless, he insisted that he has enough financial flexibility to maneuver. The Mets are believed to have roughly $13 million to spend.

Said Alderson, "We know we've got some other work to do."

You also may be interested in: