The Mets are not close to adding any veteran help to the bullpen, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
However, a source told Adam Rubin that the team could acquire a veteran relief pitcher, although it will likely be for a low-base salary, according to a source.
In a phone interview with Sandy Alderson on Wednesday, the Mets GM confirmed that he extended a two-year, $12 million deal to Grant Balfour, but sounded like there would be no other such offers coming for any remaining free agent options. Those options include Fernando Rodney, Mitchell Boggs, Kevin Gregg, and Michael Gonzalez.
Rather than sign one to a big league contract, Alderson indicated that he may rely more extensively on Vic Black, Jeurys Familia and the organization’s other young relievers, and round out the Spring Training competition by signing a veteran or two to “non-guaranteed Minor League deals.”
“We’ve got a lot of good young arms that we like — they just don’t have much experience,” Alderson said.
“Acquiring someone with some experience would give us some comfort going into Spring Training, but we don’t want to preclude some of our younger pitchers from getting a solid opportunity either. So if there’s somebody there that we like, we’ll pursue them. Otherwise, one of the ways we’ve approached starting pitching, for example, is to bring in a couple of guys on Minor League contracts [John Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka], and have them compete with some of our own internal candidates. We may do the same thing with the bullpen.”
If that’s the case, writes DiComo, then it’s conceivable the Mets’ offseason will end having added only three players on guaranteed contracts – outfielders Curtis Granderson and Chris Young, and starting pitcher Bartolo Colon.
“At some point, the available options diminish,” Alderson said in explanation of his approach. “It’s not a change in strategy so much as it’s a recognition, a reality.”