Mets COO Jeff Wilpon explained Thursday why the team was unlikely to pursue free agents Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.
"We have two pretty good lefty outfielders and we're pretty full on the infield," Wilpon told reporters -- including Tim Britton of The Athletic -- during a luncheon for the team's beat writers which was also attended by GM Brodie Van Wagenen. "And then the price from a value point of view, I don't think they've come to me and said, 'We should really do this because it's come down to a point where the cost has value.' We do have a $29 million outfielder on the roster that we hope to come back sometime this year and be productive."
Wilpon was alluding to the idea of adding Machado or Harper to a roster that already includes Yoenis Cespedes, who is due $29 million this coming season and $29.5 million in 2020.
When asked to go into further detail, specifically regarding the idea of having a larger payroll, Wilpon said the following:
"Well I don't know how many teams have two $30 million players. We went into this offseason, Brodie knows exactly where the target is for payroll. He still has some room in there to do some things. We'll see where that brings us."
The Mets have not been connected to Machado or Harper this winter, and Van Wagenen said earlier in the offseason that the team would have to get creative in order to sign one of them.
Asked specifically on Thursday about Harper and Machado, Van Wagenen said the team had talked about every player that was available.
"We never looked at this offseason as having one player in mind or looking at this offseason to make one significant investment. The goal from the beginning was trying to address all of our needs in the most efficient way that we could."
The Mets are expected to enter the season with an outfield consisting of Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and perhaps Jeff McNeil.
On the infield, the starters are expected to be Robinson Cano, Jed Lowrie, Amed Rosario, and Todd Frazier. Top prospect Peter Alonso is also a factor, though it's hard to see where he fits at the moment.