The Mets open camp in less than a month, though their roster as currently constructed could double as a slice of Swiss cheese. They have yet to sign a single major-league free agent, nor have they filled glaring holes in the outfield or in the bullpen.
When asked to assess the team's winter efforts, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson declined to offer a specific grade, though he chose a more accurate alternative.
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"I'd say right now it's an 'incomplete,' '' Alderson said during an interview with WFAN. "But there's still time in the semester.''
As the opening of spring training looms, Alderson said the Mets are pursuing "a number of things.'' He added, "To say that we've been patient is probably an understatement. But that's what we've been.''
That patience could translate into bargains for the Mets, who have cast a wide net in their search for a back-end starting pitcher. But waiting out the market comes with some risk, namely that they ultimately come away without any upgrades.
Alderson said he is "uneasy'' about the state of the bullpen and that the outfield could use "an upgrade at virtually every one of those positions.''
Scott Hairston has been linked to the Mets throughout the offseason. The righthanded-hitting outfielder would provide balance to a lefty-heavy outfield, but he is seeking a two-year deal.
Alderson said a reunion might be complicated by another factor. Hairston, who has primarily been used against lefthanded pitchers, has expressed his desire for an expanded role. But Alderson said the Mets still could make other moves that might prevent them from offering that playing time.
Alderson said he attended another private workout by a pitcher earlier this week, though he did not reveal his name. Said Alderson: "We keep looking.''
What a catch
A rival club had turned away the Mets' request to trade Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey for two particular players. But after Dickey's trade to the Blue Jays, Alderson said the club offered those same two players to the Mets for newly acquired catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud. Said Alderson: "We weren't going to do that.''
To ease any concerns about past back and knee injuries, Alderson said Mets doctors examined d'Arnaud in New York even before the trade was completed with the Jays.
According to a source, the Mets do not have a minor-league contract offer out to righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was linked to the team in a report out of Japan.
Joba, Parnell agree
Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain and Mets reliever Bobby Parnell each agreed to a one-year contract, avoiding salary arbitration. Chamberlain will earn $1.875 million and Parnell will be paid $1.7 million.