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Pads 'kick tires' on Mets excess pitching

SAN DIEGO -- Add the San Diego Padres to the list of teams at least "kicking the tires" on Dillon Gee and/or Jonathon Niese, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

The Mets prefer to trade Gee, and no deal is considered imminent.

Other teams believed to be interested in Mets starting pitching: The Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals. The Boston Red Sox are believed to be aiming higher at the moment.

The Mets would prefer to trade Gee because they want to contend in 2015 and figure Niese has more of an ability to help their club.

As for other areas of need, it's becoming increasingly likely that the Mets will go the free-agent route if they end up upgrading at shortstop over Wilmer Flores. But the plan at this point is to wait out the market and see if they can sign an unemployed player in January on their terms.

And as for left-handed relief, at this point the Mets may sign multiple southpaws to minor-league contracts and have an open competition in spring training.