The Mets are not yet willing to pay some of Curtis Granderson's $15 million salary or Jay Bruce's $13 million salary to help trade them during this week's Winter Meetings.
"Not at this point," Alderson said Monday, when specifically asked about the scenario.
Alderson is not usually this vague, though, which makes me think he'll eventually give in. However, right now, it's early enough in the off season that he isn't feeling desperate. Instead, I'm hearing they're more likely to give up a prospect or two in the deal, so the acquiring team is incentivized to absorb Bruce's $13 million.
Remember, the goal here is to a acquire as many relief pitchers as possible before the start of spring training, and I see Alderson eventually getting his men one of the following four ways...
1) Trade Bruce and his $13 million for a low-cost reliever, after which he'll sign one or two pitchers of a similar quality from the free-agent market. Result? Two or three new relievers.
2) Do the same as above, but include prospects (Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini) so the acquiring team pays Bruce's salary. Result? Two or three new relievers.
Sep 25, 2016; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) hits a single during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports (Anthony Gruppuso)
3) Trade Bruce and his $13 million straight up for a higher-priced, out-of-favor reliever, then trade prospects in a second deal for a low-cost reliever and use any remaining money to sign a low-end reliever to a minor-league deal. Result? Two or three new relievers.
4) Give in, pay a portion of Bruce's salary, get a better young, under-team-control reliever and then sign a free agent. Result? Two new relievers.
Ideally, this all gets wrapped up this week. But, my hunch is it will take a lot longer than that...
The point is, I don't think trading Bruce is a simple one-and-done equation. I believe how it happens, and what comes back, and how much money is included, will dictate how the Mets tackle the free-agent reliever market. And, since they want to maximize the deal and end up with multiple pitchers that can help their big-league bullpen, it will mean talking to lots of teams, drawing up lots of scenarios, us hearing lots of rumors and everyone being patient...
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) has been the lead writer of MetsBlog.com since 2003, as well as Executive Editor and Director of Digital Content for SNY.TV and host of the MetsBlog Q&ACast, pres. by Citi.