Mets lay the groundwork for future free-agent deals, trades

Mets GM Sandy Alderson talks to the media Mets GM Sandy Alderson talks to the media during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 13, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Sandy Alderson wrapped up the general managers' meetings on Thursday, and as expected leading up to the annual event, the Mets walked away without making a move.

Nevertheless, the Mets believe they concluded the week with a clearer picture of what it will cost to acquire players, whether it's by acquiring a free agent or pushing forward with a trade.

"We met with some clubs," Alderson said at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes hotel, where general managers and club owners spent the last four days in industry meetings. "We met with some agents, laid some groundwork, had some phone calls. Some agents didn't attend these meetings. We made progress."

Exactly how the Mets will attack either market remains unclear. Though the Mets have more than $40 million coming off the books, team officials have been squeamish about the price tags they've encountered.

The Mets conducted a face-to-face meeting with free-agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, but with several teams in desperate need at that position, the Mets could face steep competition.

The Mets are seeking offensive upgrades, specifically more power, which has shown early signs of being a costly commodity as the free-agent market heats up.

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It might force teams, including the Mets, to scour the trade market for solutions because of what Alderson called "inflation in the free-agent market."

"If we're going to see an uptick in trade activity, it probably will be a little bit later unless clubs conclude as early as now that the free-agent market just isn't attractive or is too expensive," Alderson said. "But again, just have to see how things develop."

In the meantime, the Mets have engaged in preliminary discussions with a wide net of free agents, including pitcher Alfredo Aceves.

A source said the Mets have expressed a strong interest in the enigmatic former Yankees and Red Sox pitcher, who has sprinkled solid performances with sometimes baffling behavior.

With the Red Sox, he rankled two managers, first Bobby Valentine and then John Farrell.

Aceves, who will be 31 next month, last pitched in the big leagues on July 9 before he was outrighted by the Red Sox. He went 4-1 with a 4.86 ERA in 11 games, including six starts, his second straight down season.

But throughout his career, he has shown versatility, easily moving between long relief and spot starting duty. In 2011, Aceves went 10-2 with a 2.61 ERA in his first year with the Red Sox after a productive stint with the Yankees.

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