While the Mets have identified a group of free-agent candidates to fill out their starting rotation, a source said Saturday that no signings are imminent. The possibilities include Carl Pavano, Shaun Marcum, Joe Saunders and Chris Young, according to the source.

The Mets need another pitcher for the starting rotation after trading National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays. They could explore the trade market or take a chance on the free- agent market, which still includes pitchers the Mets believe carry the promise of some upside.

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But with a limited budget and the acquisition of a right-handed-hitting outfielder still on the offseason to-do list, the source said it's unlikely that the Mets would extend a multiyear offer to fill the pitching void.

The Mets have approached Pavano, a former Yankee, though those talks have not progressed from a preliminary stage, a source said. A shoulder injury limited Pavano to 11 games with the Twins last season after the 36-year-old logged at least 200 innings in 2010 and 2011.

Marcum, 31, has a career 3.76 ERA in seven seasons with the Blue Jays and Brewers but has struggled to stay healthy. The lefthanded Saunders, 31, finished 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA last season with the Diamondbacks and Orioles.

Young, 33, is the most familiar option for the Mets. He went 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA last season for them. It was his first full year since undergoing shoulder surgery.