The Rockies have extended a $15.3-million qualifying offer to Michael Cuddyer, and the surprise move essentially priced out the Mets.
The 35-year-old outfielder had been high on their wish list for a righthanded-hitting corner outfielder with power.
If Cuddyer accepts the offer, which appears likely, he will remain with Colorado on a one-year deal for the 2015 season. But if he declines and chooses free agency, any team that signs him must forfeit a draft pick.
A source said the Mets have little interest in giving up their 15th overall selection in next year's draft. Cuddyer must decide by 4 p.m. Monday.
Cuddyer hit .332/.376/.579 with 10 homers in 49 games in an injury-plagued season. He was an NL All-Star in 2013, when he hit .331 with 20 homers and 84 RBIs. He's also a longtime friend of Mets captain David Wright. The two grew up together in Virginia's Tidewater region.
The Mets have only low-level interest in the remaining free-agent corner outfielders, a group that includes Alex Rios, Michael Morse and Torii Hunter. The likes of Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera will command significant long-term commitments that the Mets aren't in position to provide. Nori Aoki and Nick Markakis, a pair of lefthanded hitters, also could be available, but the Mets have shown no interest in pursuing either player.
The Red Sox reportedly could put slugger Yoenis Cespedes on the trading block, but in any potential deal involving a high-impact player, the Mets almost certainly would have to part with some of their promising young pitching, which they have been reluctant to do.