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Curtis Granderson on Mets meeting: 'We ate a nice meal'

Curtis Granderson, a member of the executive board

Curtis Granderson, a member of the executive board of the Major League Baseball Players Association, right, answers a question during a news conference at the organizations' annual meeting in San Diego. (Dec. 3, 2013) Credit: AP

Free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson acknowledged that he met Sunday with Mets general manager Sandy Alderson. The sit-down only reaffirmed the Mets' healthy interest in the former Yankees slugger.

"We ate a nice meal and it was great to enjoy some salmon," Granderson said during a conference call Tuesday. "But other than that it was kind of what you would expect. A conversation, a Q&A, and [we] continue the process."

The meeting took place in La Jolla, Calif., where the players' union executive board voted to appoint Tony Clark executive director of the Major League Baseball Players' Association. In his role as an association representative, Granderson was in town for the annual meeting.

"The free-agent market has been enjoyable," Granderson said. "I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited about what the next step and chapter is in my baseball career."

People with knowledge of the meeting called it preliminary, meaning no figures were exchanged.

Nevertheless, the Mets' interest in Granderson, 32, hasn't wavered.

The Mets are in need of a power hitter, especially in the corner outfield positions. Despite concerns that his home run numbers will dip away from hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium, Mets officials have been steadfast in their belief that his power will translate, even at the more spacious Citi Field.

Of course, a signing of Granderson's magnitude would break away from the organization's direction under Alderson. The largest contract he's awarded to a free agent was to Frank Francisco, a modest two-year, $12-million deal in 2011.

Granderson is coming off an injury-plagued season. Nevertheless, an industry source believes a team would have to extend an offer in the range of four years at upward of $15 million per year. Though such a contract could theoretically fit within the Mets' financial parameters -- they began the offseason with roughly $30 million to spend -- it is unclear whether the franchise is willing to make such a lengthy commitment.

Granderson hit .229 with seven homers and 15 RBIs in 61 games in 2013. But he hit a combined 84 homers the previous two seasons with the Yankees.

Earlier this winter, Granderson turned down the Yankees' $14.1-million qualifying offer to test the market.

Backman back. Wally Backman will return next season to manage Triple-A Las Vegas, the Mets announced Tuesday. Last season, Backman guided the Mets' top minor-league affiliate to an 81-63 record, good enough to win a Pacific Coast League division title. Nevertheless, Backman's future with the Mets had been in doubt. Though he has long aspired to manage in the big leagues, that chance might not come with the Mets in the near future. At the end of the season, the Mets signed manager Terry Collins to a two-year deal with a club option. The Mets also chose to retain their entire coaching staff, leaving Backman without a major-league vacancy to fill.

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