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Sunday, December 04, 2011

Alderson says Jose Reyes and Bullpen are Mets priorities at Baseball Winter Meetings

According to Mike Puma of the NY Post, Alderson and the Mets' brain trust will arrive in Dallas today for the Winter Meetings with a limited amount of money to spend, unless you count the dollars set aside with the hopes of re-signing Jose Reyes. But that won't stop Alderson from trying to add pieces.

The Mets' pressing need is bullpen help. On that front, they are fortunate the free-agent market is saturated with closers and setup help. As much as they would love to trade for Oakland's Andrew Bailey, the more likely scenario has the Mets signing one or two relievers from a list that includes Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch, Brad Lidge and Matt Capps.

Alderson will also continue talks with Reyes' representatives this week. It remains to be seen if there are serious bidders for the All-Star shortstop other than the Marlins who have a six-year offer in the $75-$90 million range on the table and the Mets.

The Marlins are expected to up their bid, and could have Reyes in tow as they leave the Winter Meetings this week. But there still is a chance a team such as the Nationals, Brewers or Tigers will jump into the conversation, especially if Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are removed from the board.

If Reyes departs, the Mets are prepared to make Ruben Tejada the starting shortstop, and Daniel Murphy likely would emerge as the full-time second baseman.

Alderson has dropped hints in recent weeks that Angel Pagan will be tendered a contract and return as the starting center fielder, but the Mets could also try to bolster that position at the Winter Meetings.

Reyes and the bullpen will be the focal point for the Mets, but Alderson will also search for a backup catcher, backup outfielders and back of the rotation type starting pitchers to provide depth in the event Johan Santana¹s shoulder is still an issue or Dillon Gee regresses.

We have a lot of positions to fill, Alderson said. But I don't know that there's anything as glaring as our bullpen issue that we faced at the end of last year and continue to address.

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