"Why not inquire about Carlos Beltran?" one of them might ponder. "Why not see if the Mets are willing to part with Jose Reyes?"
And so teams have asked questions of the Mets here in Florida, and the Mets, politely, have answered. That's protocol. It's diligence. But even under optimal circumstances, such crazy ideas only rarely develop into crazy realities. Given the new front office's wariness of making snap decisions in its first few months in power, the odds shrink even more.
"We're always open to wild and crazy ideas," GM Sandy Alderson said. "Maybe one or two of them have come up. But usually they remain wild and crazy ideas, and nothing more."
So even if the phone rings and the voice on the other end of the line asks about Beltran, and even if Alderson takes the call, and even if he entertains the notion for a while, don't expect the Mets to become wild or crazy. Certainly, Alderson said, don't expect them to be reckless.
"There's been an understanding on my part from the very beginning that there is going to be somewhat less flexibility this year than will probably be the case in future years," he said. "I not only understand that, I support the idea."
Consider, as an example, what the Mets have actually accomplished at these Winter Meetings. They have agreed to terms on a two-year contract for reliever D.J. Carrasco, pending a physical. They have agreed to a one-year deal for backup catcher Ronny Paulino, also pending a physical. They have spoken to the agents for relievers and starting pitchers alike.
Those are the types of signings that the Mets, who may spend as little as $5 million this offseason, may achieve here. Those are precisely the types of low-risk moves that the team is looking to make; trading Beltran or Reyes would represent the antithesis of all that.
If nothing else, the Mets have established a clear agenda: their own. They're far more willing to lose out on a coveted player than they are to make a rash decision. Rash decisions in winters past are what thrust them into this inflexible situation. Diligence and prudence are what they hope can help them out of it.
Trading someone like Beltran does not exactly mesh with that strategy. Signing someone like Carrasco does. And so the Mets will proceed cautiously for the rest of the week, likely doing more listening than talking, perhaps even flying home with a player or two.
They probably won't be wild. They probably won't be crazy.
"But there's nothing set in stone," Alderson said. "From the beginning I've said that we're probably not in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes, nor anything in that range. We haven't been, and I don't expect we will be. But as we are here this particular week, given I think what our overall strategy is, I'm hopeful that we will be able to accomplish about what we wanted to."