Sandy Alderson indicated Thursday that it was "fair" to assume the Mets will be unlikely to sign any additional free agents who would command more than $1.5 million. He added that it was increasingly unlikely any notable trade would materialize as spring training approaches.
"I think as teams get closer to spring training, there's a greater reluctance to make a big deal because mindsets are established and expectations are created and so forth," Alderson said. "So I would say as we get closer to spring training that it's unlikely that you'll see many big deals. In our case, I think most of what we do between now and spring training will be limited to free-agent signings of one sort or another. I don't expect a big deal to transpire between now and then. I mean, something could come up, but I just don't think in our case it's likely. And historically it doesn't happen all that frequently as we get into the second half of January and early February."
Alderson said the bench and perhaps one bullpen arm are the remaining areas needed to be filled. He said he was not in position yet to confirm the Scott Hairston signing, which satisfies the righty-hitting bench role.
"Basically we're looking to fill out the bench as well as maybe the last spot in the bullpen," Alderson said. "Right- and left-handed hitting outfielders, somebody who can play shortstop for us on a stopgap basis -- but probably more importantly if [Ruben] Tejada, assuming he's playing there, were to get injured -- and 'swingman' [pitcher]. We continue to try to add depth as Triple-A to give us the potential for the emergency call-up, guys that have some major league experience but not necessarily guys that we expect to make the club out of spring training. Those are the things we're continuing to look at now."
On the $1.5 million or so cap on spending on any remaining free-agent signing by the Mets, Alderson added: "Don't assume that creates a significant limit. What can happen this time of year is that players who were making substantially more than that range in previous years are looking for opportunities and may be willing to play for less. The market of $1.5 million players and below is probably going to be pretty robust over the next couple of weeks."