NEW YORK -- One month ago, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said that if he acquired a shortstop to replace Ruben Tejada this winter, it would almost certainly come about via trade.
Now, even that possibility has evaporated.
"I'd say that trade possibilities -- just with the passage of time and knowing more about various situations -- a trade is probably less likely now," Alderson said.
That leaves only the free-agent market, which begins and ends with Stephen Drew. But asked if he considered signing Drew "extremely unlikely," the GM did not quibble with the choice of words.
"The same three alternatives exist: sign a free agent, make a trade or go with what we have, subject to probably bringing in a backup to Tejada," Alderson said. "I'd say right now, it's probably more likely that we will go with Option C, which is Ruben at shortstop with the addition of a backup."
Backup middle infielders on the open market include Ronny Cedeno, a former Met; Cesar Izturis, whom the Mets discussed at the Winter Meetings; and Justin Turner and Omar Quintanilla, whom the Mets non-tendered earlier this winter. A source said the team has not had any contact with Turner since that time.
The Mets and Red Sox have been the only teams seriously linked this winter to Drew, who hit .253 with 13 home runs last year in Boston. Tejada, who has never played a full, healthy season in the big leagues, hit .202 with a .519 OPS in 57 games.