Alderson: Mets “very reluctant” to lose a draft pick

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson was a guest on MLB Network radio Sunday, discussing a plethora of topics with hosts Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden. Below is a partial transcript of the interview, courtesy Sirius XM:

Jim Bowden: “There’s been a lot of rumors about the Mets’ interest or non-interest in Michael Bourn.  Obviously, if you were to be interested and sign Bourn you would lose the 11th pick in the first round which would probably be against your blueprint plan unless the thought was you could sign Bourn and trade him and get more than what that first round pick would be.  Can you kind of at least talk about your thoughts, if there is any interest in Bourn and, if so, are the talks continuing?”

Sandy Alderson: “Well, you’re actually right to point out that at this stage, under current circumstances, if we were to sign a player like Bourn or [Kyle] Lohse or any free agent due compensation, we would lose the 11th pick in the draft, which would be really the most valuable first-round pick that could be lost in connection with a free agent.  So we’ve been very reluctant to consider that.  In some ways I think you’re right, the blueprint here is to rebuild the farm system at the same time that we try to be competitive and for us to lose a first-round pick would be counter to that approach.  We have added significantly to our minor league system with the trade of R.A. Dickey and the acquisition of Zack Wheeler last year.  So the farm system is in much better shape than it had been.  And so, we’re in a position to at least consider the possibility of losing a draft pick but, at the same time, we’re very reluctant to do so.”

michaelbournbraves

Jim Duquette: “With the draft pick you got bumped unfortunately to 11 because Pittsburgh didn’t sign theirs.  There has been some talk this week on potential, I don’t know if it is a dispute but at least wanting to explore that.  Do you need to explore whether you get a protected pick or not first, before you continue down this road with Bourn?  Or does it matter in your mind which comes first?”

Alderson: “To the extent that we don’t sign a player who is due compensation it becomes moot.  Obviously we want to have some sense of which way that interpretation would go before we made any final decision but at this point it’s all speculation because there are only, I believe, two players, Lohse and Bourn, who are due compensation and neither one is signed.  And certainly we haven’t signed either one so at this point it isn’t material.  But at some point I guess it could become so.”

Bowden: “Are you involved in either trade discussions or chasing free agents to improve the outfield?”

Alderson: “Well, we continue to look for ways to improve the outfield.  You know, it’s funny, with Scott Hairston, if you recall the other day, Scott Hairston signed one evening and Justin Upton was traded the next morning.  Had it happened the other way, who knows?  It might have turned out differently.  One of the reasons we didn’t pursue Scott as ardently as some people thought we might is that he was looking for a full time role somewhere in the outfield.  And we had some hopes that perhaps we’d be able to acquire someone to do that by trade.  It didn’t work out.  So we continue to look but I think, realistically at this point, there’s not a lot left on the shelf.  So at some point we have to realize that, well, perhaps the outfield is not the strength of our team.  But at least going into spring training we may be looking at what we have and not being able to make an addition.  But, you know, we keep looking but at the same time, in terms of significant upgrades on the free agent market, not a lot available.  We continue to talk to clubs about possible trades but at this stage most teams, as you know, are beginning to prep for the beginning of spring training and the trade activity is probably going to begin to diminish.”

Duquette: “Relief, we’ve seen some things on that front, you may add maybe a reliever or two.  What can you tell us on that?”

Alderson: “That’s true.  We’re still looking there and I think that there’s more available on the free agent market to be able to add somebody to the bullpen.  So I think that’s a realistic possibility.  It is conceivable that we get one or two.  We’re actually looking to find somebody to pitch at the back end and might have to get creative to do so.  But definitely a possibility that we can upgrade there before the beginning of spring training.”

Bowden: “Certainly [Brian Wilson] is an impact closer if the arm comes back.  I read where you had gone and seen him throw a bullpen for you.  Is that someone that you are still considering?  Where does that stand?”

Alderson: “Well, he’s still working his way back through his rehab and not only was I out there but our pitching coach was there as well.  We may go back and see him in the next several days.  He was really at the beginning of his throwing program off the mound so we hadn’t intended to go back for a period of time but I’m sure that Brian is still in our mix and other clubs are, I’m sure, looking at him as well.”

Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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