Alderson: Payroll likely won't rise further

SAN DIEGO -- Sandy Alderson estimated the Mets' payroll currently is just north of $100 million. And the GM estimated Monday that it likely would go down -- or, at best, stay flat -- the remainder of the offseason.

Translation: The starting pitcher the Mets subtract -- Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee or Bartolo Colon -- likely will have a greater salary than the total of all additions the remainder of this offseason.

"Probable," Alderson labeled that assessment.

The Mets potentially are looking for a shortstop upgrade over Wilmer Flores as well as a lefty reliever and righty-hitting bat for the bench.

Alderson on Monday also intimated that Colon is not the most likely of the three veteran starting pitchers to get dealt. The Mets are believed to be willing to eat at least a modest amount of Colon's salary if he were traded -- maybe $1 million -- since Colon made $9 million in 2014 and is due to make $11 million in 2015. Still, Niese or Gee seems more likely to go.

"We expect to have conversations about pitching while we're here," Alderson said, referring to the winter meetings, which run through Thursday morning. "I'm not sure we'll do anything while we're here, but I expect to have conversations and get a better idea if it's possible."

As for trading Colon, Alderson added: "We like Bartolo. We like him for the money he's signed this season. Frankly, we're not looking to trade him."

The GM also did not dismiss going the international route for a shortstop, with Japan's Takashi Toritani and South Korea's Jung-Ho Kang available. However, the GM did not portray either as a likelihood, and made it seem as if either might actually be a backup if he did land in Flushing.

"There's still lots of different possibilities -- again, all weighed against what we have both as a front line at that position and as a backup at that position," Alderson said. "It's always difficult to gauge the potential impact of an international player. But there seem to be clubs willing to spend $60 million to $70 million to find out. We haven't been in that category. I expect we will be in that category soon. But these international shortstop possibilities, at least the ones that are more or less major league ready, probably don't fit into that category anyway."