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'Less likely' Mets will bid on Jung-Ho Kang

South Korea outfielder Lee Jin-Young, left, congratulates infielder

South Korea outfielder Lee Jin-Young, left, congratulates infielder Jung-Ho Kang in the eighth inning of their World Baseball Classic first round game at the Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan, March 5, 2013. Credit: AP / Wally Santana

South Korean slugger Jung-Ho Kang is posted and available. But general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that it's unlikely that the Mets will submit a bid for the shortstop's negotiating rights.

"Not saying we won't make a bid," Alderson said at the team's annual holiday party for local school children. "But I'd say right now it's less likely."

The Mets harbor the same concerns as many scouts, who have doubts about whether Kang's production will translate when he makes the move to Major League Baseball. Kang's range, and whether he can stick at shortstop, is also a question mark.

Kang, 27, hit .356/.459/.739 with 40 homers and 117 RBIs in 117 games for the Nexen Heroes of the hitter-friendly Korean Baseball Organization.

Teams have until 5 p.m. Friday to submit bids for Kang's negotiating rights, though industry sources said it's unclear how much he will command. Alderson reiterated that Wilmer Flores likely will be the Mets' Opening Day shortstop, even though his defense also raises questions.

The Mets appear to be heading into a lull in the offseason, though it's also possible that they're finished making significant additions to the roster.

Their search for an upgrade at shortstop could drag into January and their pursuit of another lefthanded reliever to join Josh Edgin may be limited to minor league signings.

"The question is whether we're prepared to make a commitment to somebody on a major-league deal," Alderson said. "I'd say it's unlikely we do that right now. I'd rather see the competition for that second lefty and if it doesn't work out, we'll go with six righties in the pen."

Alderson left open the possibility of a spring training competition involving prospect Jack Leathersich, minor leaguer Dario Alvarez and recent Rule 5 draft selection Sean Gilmartin. The club also recently re-signed Scott Rice to a minor-league deal.

The Mets also have continued to discuss trading one of their veteran pitchers, though none of the talks seem to have gained any traction.

"We've had some conversations but not specifically about pitching per se," Alderson said. "Just some general conversations but not many."

Notes & quotes: Both Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia have recovered from offseason surgery to repair a hernia. Mejia appeared as Santa Claus at the team's holiday party. He was joined by Familia, who came as an elf . . . Mejia, who closed in Bobby Parnell's absence last season, insists he'd be comfortable in any bullpen role this season. "I can throw the seventh inning, eighth inning, ninth inning, whatever," Mejia said . . . Alderson said the Mets gravitated toward signing John Mayberry Jr. because of his willingness to embrace a bench role.

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