NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Holding out hope that the Mets will sign free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew in the next few days? Or shock the baseball world and nab outfield slugger Nelson Cruz?
Don’t hold your breath.
On Tuesday, general manager Sandy Alderson told WFAN host Mike Francesa that he can sign Drew “under the right circumstances.”
The GM didn’t sound as hopeful at the Mets’ complex in Port St. Lucie on Thursday.
“I said it was unlikely that we would sign another major free agent,” Alderson said. “I think that’s still the case.”
Drew would likely cost the Mets at least $10 million per season. The 2013 World Series champion with the Red Sox has reportedly been seeking a multiyear deal all winter. The Mets could certainly use Drew, as their incumbent shortstop was brutal for New York in 2013. In 57 games last season, Ruben Tejada batted .202 with no homers, 10 RBIs and a .259 on-base percentage.
The Wilpons have opened up their wallet this winter, spending $87.25 million on starting pitcher Bartolo Colon and outfielders Curtis Granderson and Chris Young.
And Alderson disputed reports that, after those moves, the Mets don’t have much financial flexibility.
“If you’re referring to banks or owners or other interested parties, I think the answer clearly is no,” Alderson told reporters. “There are no constraints on the payroll.”
With plenty of money coming off the books after the 2013 season, New York was expected to spend big. The Mets didn’t come close to spending what the Yankees did, but Alderson says that the team’s current payroll is where he expected it to be when the offseason began.
“I had a pretty good idea of where we might end up,” Alderson told reporters. “Had we not signed the free agents we did, we would have been a lot lower. Our goal is to try to make the team as good as it can be for this season. I think we’ve gotten pretty close to achieving what we hoped to.”
As for what the future holds?
“Every team has payroll constraints, including those teams who have signed big free agents and are now saying, ‘I have no money,'” the GM said. “Yes, I feel very confident that it will climb back up. At the same time, we need to have some success on the field, which drives some attendance, which drives some additional revenue — all of those things.
“I understand it’s incumbent on us to have some success on the field in order to do that.”
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