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Mets prefer trading pitcher before camp

lastname Colon

lastname Gee

lastname Niese NEW YORK -- Sandy Alderson acknowledged Tuesday that the Mets prefer to trade one of their excess starting pitchers -- Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee or Bartolo Colon -- before spring training.

The reasoning?

"Spring-training trades don't happen frequently," Alderson said.

With Matt Harvey returning from Tommy John surgery and Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom locked into rotation spots, the Mets have six incumbent starting pitchers.

Gee, the least expensive of the trade candidates, is eligible for arbitration and still should make roughly $5 million. And while Alderson said he's not averse to putting a pitcher with a big contract in the bullpen, clearly there's motivation to move a starting pitcher this winter and avoid that option being on the table.

"I think we'd prefer to sort it out before spring training," Alderson said.