NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Mets still hope to unload an outfielder, though a slow-moving market may force them to wait a little longer.
Sources on Tuesday said the potential returns for Jay Bruce have been underwhelming. And while teams have expressed interest in Curtis Granderson, none of those talks have gained steam, partly because of the Mets’ reluctance to move him.
While a chance still exists that the Mets make a move before the end of the winter meetings on Thursday, it’s also possible that the market won’t fully develop until later in the offseason, general manager Sandy Alderson said.
“Things are generally slow . . . hopefully things start to loosen up a little bit,” Alderson said on Tuesday. “We’ve certainly had plenty of conversations and eventually it will lead to something, I’m sure. But the pace has been slow.”
With little movement as far as corner outfielders, Alderson said teams who may have interest are still sorting out options.
“Clubs are still trying to figure out exactly what they think is exactly the best way to go,” Alderson said. “The contours of the market are still a little bit vague, so you don’t see a lot of movement. And that’s true not only with outfielders but it’s true in the bullpen for example.”
The Mets remain in the market for relief help, ideally a righty to help ease the load on closer Jeurys Familia and setup man Addison Reed in addition to a lefty specialist. Familia also faces a possible suspension after being charged with domestic violence last month.
Jerry Blevins filled the role of lefty specialist for the Mets last season, though a source said he may be priced out because he’s seeking a three-year deal.
The Mets discussed a trade with the Royals for closer Wade Davis, a source confirmed, though a deal is unlikely.
Meanwhile, as most teams do, the Mets have used the winter meetings to line up low-risk alternatives in the bullpen. They have been canvassing the market for relievers with big-league experience who may be willing to accept minor-league contracts.
As far as the outfield, the preference remains to trade Bruce. In that scenario, manager Terry Collins said Granderson will get most of his starts in centerfield, though he has primarily been a rightfielder in recent years.
But Collins said former Gold Glover Juan Lagares would also see time as a measure to protect Granderson against fatigue. It’s an issue that was underscored last season, when Yoenis Cespedes began the year playing centerfield, though a leg injury ultimately pushed him to left.
“I think that Grandy is going to need some time off,” Collins said. “I think he’s 36 years old now and that’s not old, but, you know what, playing centerfield in our ballpark you saw what it did to Ces. Beats your legs up. So, we need to make sure [Granderson] has rest.”
Notes & quotes: Collins, 67, is entering the final season of his contract. But he hopes to wait until the end of the season to decide whether he wants to keep managing. “When the season is over, I will sit down — and hopefully it’s in November next year — and analyze where I’m at because I still feel great. I’ve got a lot of energy,” said Collins, the oldest manager in the big leagues. “But I don’t know if it’s going to be there or not, have to wait and see.” . . . Tim Tebow will likely be in minor-league camp next spring training, Alderson said, though the former Heisman Trophy winner could be invited on occasion to play in big-league games.