Sandy Alderson looks on during a spring training workout at...

Sandy Alderson looks on during a spring training workout at Tradition Field. (Feb. 13, 2013) Credit: Alejandra Villa

There is at least one benefit to finishing with one of the bottom-10 records in the major leagues: By rule, the Mets' first-round draft pick (No. 10 overall) can't be seized as compensation this winter should they sign a top-tier free agent.

Instead, the Mets would forfeit their second-round selection, a provision that general manager Sandy Alderson on Monday night said would not stand in the way of signing one of the 13 free agents who would require compensation.

Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo headlined a group of players who received one-year, $14.1-million qualifying offers by Monday's deadline. Outfielders Carlos Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Curtis Granderson also received qualifying offers, along with shortstop Stephen Drew.

Meanwhile, as expected, the Mets did not extend qualifying offers to any of their own free agents.

With at least $40 million coming off the books, the Mets could theoretically target a player in the top tier. However, competition from other clubs will likely drive up the bidding, even if the Mets are willing to part with their draft pick.

Newsday LogoDON'T MISS THIS LIMITED-TIME OFFER1 5 months for only $1Save on Unlimited Digital Access