Deal or no deal? Alderson predicts latter

NEW YORK -- With less than 72 hours until Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, Sandy Alderson labeled it “unlikely” the Mets will make a deal.

“The conversations have been few,” the GM conceded Monday afternoon, before the opener of a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

According to Alderson, the Mets are not eager to sell off pieces for prospects while playing well. And players such as Bartolo Colon might command more during the winter anyway, the GM suggested.

On the buying end, the cost in terms of salary and prospects is too overwhelming for the limited pool of players available, the GM added.

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Sandy Alderson does not expect a trade materializing before Thursday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

“Had I to make a guess, I would say nothing will happen,” Alderson said. “But you never know what’s going to transpire in the last three days or so. Clubs that may be having conversations elsewhere circle back based on what they think their options may be. I’d say we have an opportunity to do a thing or two, but are not inclined to at this point. So it’s speculation, but I wouldn’t bet on something happening before the deadline.”

Colon starts for the Mets on Monday night. He is owed $11 million in 2015. And Alderson suggested that if Colon finishes the season strongly, he ought to be relatively attractive to teams in trades this winter.

“There will be lots of teams looking for pitching in the offseason,” Alderson said. “And there will be lots of teams thinking about giving a veteran pitcher three or four years at $50 million, $60 million. At that point, an $11 million deal for one year for someone of his ability looks pretty attractive. I’m not sure it looks quite as attractive today as it would then.”

The GM added: “We’re not anxious to move him at this point. It could happen.”

Asked to assess where the Mets are after their 5-5 road trip, which leaves them at 50-55 with 57 games remaining, the GM said: “We need to start making up ground on .500. And if we can do that, then we can start thinking about some of the other teams in the division and in the league. We were challenged offensively during that trip, but by and large we pitched very well. That was encouraging. Lucas Duda was outstanding on that trip. So when I say it’s unlikely we’ll do something, we’re not anxious to be sellers, cautious about being buyers.”

Alderson added that “it’s not clear that there’s something out there” that could improve the team anyway.

“Whatever may be out there, it may be prohibitive,” Alderson said. “... In any deal the cost is financial and prospects. And both currencies are important right now. We like some of the players we have in our system.”

Alderson added that the Mets’ young pitchers are what other teams are asking for in the limited conversations in which the Mets are buyers.

“Anybody who is offering us a potential upgrade on our current roster is looking at our young pitching,” Alderson said. “And from the standpoint of those interested in our veteran players, they’re offering prospects. We’re in that position where we don’t really want to give up prospects, but we’re not anxious to trade for guys that can’t help us nearer term. That may lead us to more of a status-quo situation.”

Asked how the Mets can improve their offense to match their pitching, Alderson pointed to a web site that just named its top 100 MLB prospects. Five names on the list were Mets, and four of those were position players.

“I think the overall profile of our system is changing a little bit and that there is more reason to believe that we have position players as well as pitchers,” Alderson said.

No one inquired by name about Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez during the interview. Alderson nonetheless was asked if he could envision a scenario in which he “throws his chips in the middle” to make a deal for a big bat.

“To me that sounds more desirable than inching your way there, giving up prospects in more cautious transactions,” Alderson said. “I wouldn’t rule that out. But it’s got to be the right time for the right player under the right circumstances.”

Could the Mets actually add another $20 million player given they already have David Wright?

“We’ve got a 20 and 15,” Alderson said, referring to Wright and Curtis Granderson.

So what about 20, 20 and 15?

“20, 20, 15 ... and what 22 dwarfs?” Alderson quipped, a seeming acknowledgement of the challenge that might pose at the current payroll level or thereabouts.

More seriously, the GM added: “It’s conceivable. We’d have to figure out exactly what our maximum is and then work back from there. I wouldn’t say that would preclude us.”