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Trading first baseman remains Alderson's top priority

Trading first baseman remains Alderson's top priority

Trading first baseman remains Alderson's top priority

NEW YORK -- In the five days since the Winter Meetings ended, Sandy Alderson's agenda has not changed. The top priority for the Mets' general manager remains trading of one of his first basemen, Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, even if no deal is urgent.

"We're not anxious about it," Alderson said Tuesday at the Mets' annual Citi Field holiday party for local schoolchildren.

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Yet the first-base market has grown clearer even since Alderson left the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort last week, perhaps paving the way for an imminent deal. The Rays have since re-signed James Loney to a three-year contract, reducing the Mets' list of obvious trade partners to two: the Brewers and Pirates.

"It's smaller, both on the supply side and the demand side," Alderson said of the first-base market. "Actually, that's probably a good thing, because there's more clarity as to the options -- both trade partners and alternatives. We're still talking with a number of teams. I can't say anything will happen. For example, if we were not to get what we wanted in return, we'd have to think of other options, which would be to wait or to even go into Spring Training with more than one [first baseman]. Let's see what happens."

In Alderson's ideal world, the Mets will resolve their first-base situation soon, so that the GM has a better grasp of his roster composition as he pursues other needs. But Alderson also knows he cannot force a trade and must press onward in the interim.

To that end, the GM offered some clarity on several other roster issues:

• With Bartolo Colon in the fold, the Mets are unlikely to sign another big league starting pitcher, preferring a veteran on a Minor League deal who can compete with the organization's in-house prospects (Rafael Montero, Jacob deGrom, et al.).

• Given that hesitancy to bring in an established starting pitcher, the Mets do not plan to submit a bid for Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka if he is posted.

• The Mets still hope to upgrade at shortstop, though they are not as committed to it as they were at the beginning of the offseason. Instead, Alderson said, the team is likely to give incumbent Ruben Tejada another opportunity.

"I think it is more likely certainly than it was a couple of months ago, let's say," Alderson said. "We've improved the team at other positions, and so giving Ruben a chance to re-establish himself as an everyday player isn't such a bad thing. But we'll continue to monitor what's there from the trade market and conceivably free agency, although there really isn't much left there. There are two or three teams that are possibilities."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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