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Alderson weighs in on market shortcomings

PHOENIX -- Describing the shortstop market as “limited,” Sandy Alderson said it may be a long process trying to find the Mets’ 2015 starter at the position, with the pursuit potentially even going into January.

Sources have told ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets are unlikely to go the free-agent route at the position, and that the Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs may be the best trade fits.

“We all know what’s available in the free-agent market. And there are a few teams that have middle infielders to trade,” Alderson said Wednesday at the GM Meetings. “But I’d say there are few of those clubs. So it may take us awhile to really figure out what’s available and what’s not and what fits and what doesn’t.”

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Sandy Alderson said he wouldn't panic if Wilmer Flores emerged as his Opening Day shortstop.

Alderson said there have not yet been substantive trade talks.

“Right now there aren’t asking prices,” Alderson said. “All that’s getting started.”

While Wilmer Flores being the Opening Day shortstop is not the preference, Alderson insisted the Mets are prepared to go with him if the external search is fruitless.

“I know there are fans out there that don’t want to hear it, but if we had to go into the season with Flores as our shortstop, I’m certainly not in a panic mode at that point,” Alderson said. “Wilmer at shortstop is one of those guys that doesn’t pass the eye test. But if you start to look at his metrics a little bit, you realize there’s maybe a little more there than we give him credit. And, offensively, there’s as much potential with him as probably anybody that’s available.”

Prospect Matt Reynolds, however, is likely to start next season at Triple-A Las Vegas.

“Do I realistically think Reynolds is going to be an option at the beginning of the season? Probably not,” Alderson said. “Could it happen? Yeah, it could happen. We don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we have to do something with one of the guys that’s untested.”

By signing free-agent Michael Cuddyer, Alderson agreed that it is more palatable now to acquire the shortstop via trade.

“We still have the inventory that we had,” Alderson said.

Asked if the Mets would prefer a younger shortstop under control at a low cost rather than a pricey name player, Alderson replied: “You’re always looking for somebody more controllable. But then you have to balance performance and expectation from that player. I think right now our goal is to identify what’s available and then get to those specific comparisons later. The market is slim enough that you may not have the ability to make those choices.”