WASHINGTON -- Rumors aside, the Mets have just one main concern in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Dismissing a right-handed bat or starting pitcher as priorities, general manager Sandy Alderson said Tuesday that his focus is to acquire help for the club's 30th-ranked bullpen. Outside of that, Alderson is hesitant to mortgage any fraction of the organization's future in exchange for a short-term fix.
"That's the number one priority," Alderson said of the bullpen. "We've looked at other things. Other things could develop. But we're focused on a long-term plan with the recognition that 2012 is very important, and we want to be as competitive as we can possibly be. Hopefully we don't have to compromise the vision."
Rumors have swirled throughout July that the Mets might be interested in a power right-handed bat or a catcher, possibly in the form of the same person. Then, when right-hander Dillon Gee underwent potentially season-ending surgery last week, the Mets became potential buyers for a starting pitcher.
But starters are expensive in terms of the prospects that other teams expect back, and the Mets already added a right-handed bat Tuesday when they activated Jason Bay from the disabled list. So rather than focus on either of those areas, they will use their lower-tier prospects and available cash to try to score a solid reliever.
At the least, they are committed to that goal. The Mets have assigned all of their Major League scouts to cover big league clubs this week, rather than check out prospects in the Minors.
"So if that's any evidence of our point of view, our state of mind, we are buyers," Alderson said. "Right now, we're buyers."