NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Mets still have glaring holes at left field and shortstop.

The Chris Young and Ruben Tejada experiments didn’t work, and the current starters — Matt den Dekker in left field and Wilmer Flores at shortstop — are far from proven entities.

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The easiest way to fix the positions is via free agency, but the Mets haven’t exactly been big spenders in recent years. New York has been linked to such stars as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, but general manager Sandy Alderson will have to part with prized young pitching to acquire any sluggers under contract.

Alderson told the Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton on Wednesday night that free agency might not be at the forefront of his offseason plan, and internal options could potentially be the answers.

Right now, part of what we need to do is assess what we have,” the general manager told the newspaper. “If you look at shortstop, Flores has actually done a very nice job for us at shortstop. (Matt) Reynolds has played well at short, both (at Double-A) and at Triple-A. Den Dekker had an excellent season at Triple-A. So we’ve got to assess what we have before we start going out and canvasing the free-agent market.

“Free agents aren’t always the solution.”

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There are questions about Flores’ range at shortstop, and he hasn’t exactly lit the league on fire with his bat. The 23-year-old is batting .242 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 178 at-bats, posting a .274 on-base percentage.

Den Dekker is strong defensively, but he’s also left a lot to be desired at the plate. The 27-year-old is hitting .238 with no homers and five RBIs in 105 at-bats.

Hanley Ramirez will be the most coveted free-agent shortstop this offseason, and outfielders Yasmani Tomas and Melky Cabrera will also be in heavy demand.

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