Sandy Alderson plans to meet with Scott Boras, the agent for Francisco Rodriguez as well as Ryan Madson, on Tuesday afternoon. But the GM said Mets fans should not expect there will be a K-Rod reunion. In fact, Boras also reps free agents such as Rick Ankiel, Xavier Nady and Jason Varitek as well, and those players seem more within the Mets' salary parameters. Varitek could make sense as a complement to Josh Thole.
"We haven't decided not to pursue him," Alderson said about K-Rod. "... So I'm sure Frankie will come up in conversation."
Still, Alderson added about K-Rod: "Absolutely not. You shouldn't expect this is a likelihood. I hope I didn't create that impression."
Alderson noted that K-Rod has been offered salary arbitration with the Milwaukee Brewers, which he can accept and return to that club for one year with an award based on last season's $11.5 million salary.
Alderson said rather than obtain one high-priced closer, the reality is the Mets likely will bring in two second-tier relievers to spread the cost around -- in that Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco level seemingly.
"I'd be surprised if we throw all of our money at one guy," Alderson said. "Our bullpen is such that we definitely need somebody at the end. We can use more depth in our pen also. I think if we can do it, it probably would be better to be a little bit conservative with our top-end guy and still have some money to provide depth.
"If you look at the market, you've got arguably two or three higher-end guys (Madson, K-Rod and Francisco Cordero perhaps). You've got a couple just below that. And then there are some other pitchers who probably are not closer caliber. With the top-end guys, there are a couple of things: One, I think there's a demand for more than one year. And, secondly, there's also an unwillingness right now to drop down below what had been their expectations over the last month, probably since (Jonathan) Papelbon signed. ... The problem with a top-end guy is a number of different things have to happen. It all kind of has to fall into place. And the question is whether you want to wait that long."
Alderson also met Tuesday with Jose Reyes' agents about their other clients -- popular Endy Chavez as well as infielders Cesar Izturis and Ronny Cedeno. The powwow was described as "a little awkward."
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As for starting pitching, Alderson laughed off reports linking the Mets to Mark Buehrle.
Speaking collectively about C.J. Wilson, Buehrle and pitchers of that caliber, Alderson said: "No, that's not happening for us."
Alderson also noted players such as Chris Capuano and Chris Young were late acquisitions last year, and that pattern should repeat itself this offseason.
"Starting pitching hasn't been a focus for us yet. It's not to say it's not important," Alderson said. "We've just been looking at other things. So, for example, the Capuano market didn't even materialize until January or so of last year. But we'll have to make some decisions in that area over the next handful of days."
The Mets technically have five starting pitchers -- Johan Santana, R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee. But they desperately need depth to compete with Gee and as a hedge against continued Santana difficulties or another injury issue.
Alderson said at where the organization is at this point, the Mets will retain their top prospects. He didn't mention names, but there will be no trading of Zack Wheeler, Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey, etc.
"We're not going to compromise the top end of our player-development system," Alderson said. "If you want to look at the top four or five prospects in our system, they're not going anywhere. Beyond that, we'll talk about it. But I'd be surprised if we take many of our prospects and turn them into very experienced major league players. I don't think that's where we are right now. ...
"I think that fans understand we have a general direction we're taking. I think most fans, understanding that general direction, would be shocked if we traded one of those three, four, five guys. So I don't think I'm disclosing anything that wasn't otherwise understood by people.
"Are we one player away? I think we need more than one player to assure ourselves of success in 2012. The fact is no team, apparently, is one player away.
"It didn't work for some teams last year that thought they were that close," Alderson said with a smirk, potentially talking about the San Francisco Giants and Carlos Beltran.
Will the Mets leave with a free agent, or will the winter-meetings haul be limited to the Rule 5 draft, the route the Mets obtained Pedro Beato and Brad Emaus last December?
"We continue to work at it," Alderson said. "We're talking to free agents, talking to clubs, meeting again with certain free agents and clubs. So we continue to work toward it. I can't predict we'll do any one thing or more than one thing or nothing at all. It's hard to predict at this point."
As for what the Marlins are doing, Alderson said: "We're cognizant of what they're doing, just as we were last year when Philadelphia was making all of the news. It's too bad all the news is being made in the National League East. To put it in perspective, teams -- whether they're in our division or out of our division -- we all have a number of choices that we are able to make over a period of time. And once you make those choices, you live with those choices. And they can be good ones. They can turn out to be poor ones. So they're making those choices. They'll live with them over the next several years. They could turn out great. They could turn out poorly. Just as in our situation, what we're trying to do is create the opportunity for us to have more of those choices in the near term."