Mets general manager Sandy Alderson spent nearly 45 minutes on the radio Friday, trying to reassure fans that the club will not sit on its hands this offseason.
In two interviews, first with ESPN New York and then with WFAN, Alderson acknowledged the skepticism from the fan base. But he reiterated that the 2014 team will feature new faces.
"No," Alderson said of skimping on players. "No way. Why would we want to do that? I've got to watch all those games too, you know."
Expiring contracts have cleared more than $40 million in payroll, and Alderson said next season will be "a new day" for the franchise, which was restricted to $5 million in free-agent expenditures last offseason. Yet questions persist about whether the Mets can afford meaningful upgrades, either through free agency or the trade market.
For instance, at this week's GM meetings, Alderson said the Mets likely won't pursue players who might command $100-million contracts. The declaration essentially prices out free agents who might be an ideal fit, namely Shin-Soo Choo.
Alderson also balked at the notion that the Mets should attempt a Red Sox-like roster overhaul. Though the Red Sox targeted mid-tier free agents, they still spent much more than what the Mets have budgeted for this offseason.
Said Alderson: "Right now, we're trying to determine what realistically is available in those areas where we feel we need to prioritize, but also what else is out there that might be able to help us in a more creative way."
As is typical for most teams, most of the Mets' moves might not come until later in the offseason.
"It's not like we're testing the market to see if we want to do something," Alderson said. "No, we want to do something . . . We'll get there."
Notes & quotes: Though the Mets were pleased with his work behind the plate, they believed catcher Travis d'Arnaud showed an inconsistent approach at the plate. "Any time you get below the Mendoza line, particularly a young guy like that, you start to panic," Alderson said. D'Arnaud, 24, hit .202 in his first 31 games of big-league action . . . The Mets' interest in free-agent righthander Alfredo Aceves appears to be for only a minor-league deal, according to a source . . . Alderson said top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard is virtually untouchable in trade talks.
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