Mets looking at Francisco Liriano as possible addition to rotation

Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Francisco Liriano delivers Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Francisco Liriano delivers a pitch during a game against the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field. (Aug. 21, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty

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The Mets have only been in the market for starting pitching for three days. And while they have yet to zero in on specific targets, a person with knowledge of the team's thinking said Thursday they have a definite type in mind.

They're searching for upside, "rather than just bringing in a warm body." Whether it's a pitcher looking to reestablish himself after recent injury woes or one trying to bounce back from underperformance, the Mets have entered the free-agent market confident they can fill out the rotation with a potential upgrade.

The Mets have discussed free agent Francisco Liriano, who posted a 5.34 ERA with the Twins and White Sox last season. Indeed, the 29-year-old lefty would come with issues. But considering his age and stellar performance in the past, Liriano is the type of arm who offers the upside the Mets seek. He'd also come at the right price on a one-year deal.

"He's a free-agent starting pitcher with some track record, " the source said of Liriano, who threw a no-hitter for Minnesota in 2011 and has a career record of 53-54.

Indeed, the Mets have discussed Liriano as a potential fit, though the source said the Mets have cast a wide net when it comes to finding a starter to fill the void left by trading Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays.

The Mets have enjoyed success squeezing production out of low-end pitching targets, doing so with Chris Capuano two years ago and Chris Young last season, a nod to the team's evaluation process.

"Pretty good results," the source said.

Indeed, those results have emboldened the Mets to attempt finding another gem.

Though the Mets will likely be able to secure an arm on a one-year deal, the source said the team remains in position to splurge on one multiyear deal this offseason. That will most likely go toward signing a right-handed-hitting outfielder.

With the makeup of the outfield market, the source said going beyond one year may be the Mets' best avenue to "bring on a high-quality player."

Scott Hairston remains a logical fit for a reunion.

Hairston, who is seeking a two-year deal, hit 20 homers with the Mets last season. His power continues to make him an attractive target and Hairston remains on the Mets' radar, according to the source.

Hairston's familiarity with the club also increases the chances that he stays in New York. The source said Hairston is well-regarded and his personality fit well in the clubhouse.

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