The Mets are on the verge of signing former Padres...

The Mets are on the verge of signing former Padres pitcher Chris Young, who has been plagued by injuries the past three seasons. Credit: Newsday / Kathy Kmonicek, 2006

With their new front office and management teams officially in place, the Mets have begun their initial descent into this offseason's free-agent pool of players.

Looking for a veteran catcher to complement Josh Thole, the Mets Monday reached out to Yorvit Torrealba just before he signed with the Rangers, according to an industry source. They also have shown interest in pitcher Chris Young.

General manager Sandy Alderson has made no secret of the fact that the Mets do not have the financial flexibility to be that active in free agency this offseason. But they still hope to make selective finds, with their sights set on another catcher and several cost-efficient pitchers.

They apparently liked the idea of teaming Torrealba with Thole, but according to a person familiar with the team's overture, Torrealba was too far along en route to a two-year, $6.25-million contract with the Rangers to seriously consider the Mets.

Jason Varitek, Miguel Olivo and Bengie Molina headline the remaining crop of free-agent catchers.

Nevertheless, the Mets' last-minute failed attempt to lure Torrealba begins what is expected to be their first week of the offseason that involves real player movement.

Pedro Feliciano has until midnight Tuesday to accept or decline the Mets' arbitration offer, and his agent, Melvin Roman, told Newsday over the weekend that Feliciano is "seriously considering" taking it.

The deadline for teams to non-tender players under their control comes Thursday, at which point the Mets are expected to cut ties with John Maine.

With Johan Santana expected to be sidelined for at least the start of the season as he recovers from shoulder surgery, the only certainties for the rotation entering spring training are Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese.

The Mets likely will consider in-house options such as Dillon Gee and are expected to look at the free-agent market. Young could be a fit at the right price.

The 6-10 righthander, who is acting as his own agent, confirmed to the San Diego Union-Tribune that he's spoken to the Mets, among other teams, but said he is not close to a deal.

Coming off a four-year, $14.5-million deal with the Padres, Young would be an attractive option to fill out the back end of the Mets' rotation because he won't cost a lot coming off several injury-plagued seasons. He is a fly-ball pitcher, which fits perfectly with Citi Field's dimensions.

Young also has ties with Alderson and one of his assistants, Paul DePodesta, both of whom were executives with the Padres while Young was there. Earlier this month, the Padres declined their 2011 option for $8.5 million, but both sides expressed an interest in continuing their relationship. Young pitched only 20 innings in 2010 because of shoulder problems.


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