LOS ANGELES -- A baseball official familiar with the Mets' trade-deadline plans said discussions with other clubs had not started "in earnest" and had been limited to cursory conversations so far because teams that might be sellers largely were unwilling to concede they were in that position yet.
The official projected trades across baseball likely would be more about absorbing salary than parting with prospects.
That's because as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams acquiring players midseason who then lose those players as free agents during the offseason no longer get draft-pick compensation. As a result, teams looking to acquire players in July should be less willing to part with prospects in the trade since they will be unable to replenish their system through extra draft picks the following June.
The Mets clearly are intent on upgrading their bullpen. There are players available now such as Chad Qualls and Brad Lidge. But a team insider told ESPNNewYork.com that the players available now might just be considered "rearranging the deck chairs" and largely pointless to acquire. If the Mets wanted to shake things up, they just as easily use relievers at Triple-A Buffalo such as Pedro Beato and left-hander Josh Edgin.
While a baseball official said don't rule out anything, his expectation clearly is the Mets also will not pursue a closer type such as Houston's Brett Myers. The official's logic is that the Mets would not want to ask a closer to perform set-up work, and the Mets already have Frank Francisco for the ninth inning. (The Brewers pushed closer Francisco Rodriguez into a set-up role last season after acquiring him from the Mets, but the Mets apparently do not have an appetite to do something similar.)
It's also an open question how much money the Mets actually could absorb in a trade, since cash flow appears to remain an issue for the organization.