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Alderson preps fans for Flores at shortstop

SAN DIEGO -- Sandy Alderson continued to prepare Mets fans on Sunday for the “likelihood” Wilmer Flores is the Opening Day shortstop. Alderson added that trading a surplus starting pitcher from the group that includes Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee and Bartolo Colon may wait until later in the offseason.

“Things can happen quickly here just because of the proximity of everyone in the same hotel and the availability of everybody’s staff. So things can happen quickly,” Alderson said in his suite at the Grand Hyatt on Sunday, as the winter meetings got underway. “But, at the same time, you look at the free-agent market -- not a lot has happened on the pitching side. Some of that activity may have to take place before we’re able to really have serious discussions with anyone on a possible trade.”

Adam Rubin

Sandy Alderson continues to label Wilmer Flores as the likely Opening Day starter at shortstop.

Alderson insisted the Mets are not focused on trading one particular starting pitcher.

“We don’t have our minds made up at this point,” he said. “It will be about the market.”

The GM added that he is not averse to trading Niese, which would leave the Mets with an all-righty rotation, at least until prospect Steven Matz is ready for the majors.

“We like having a lefty. But I think if you look at our division, having a lefty is not as critical as it might have been a couple of years ago, if you look at the way some of the teams are evolving,” Alderson said. “But we’d still like to have a lefty in the rotation if we can.”

As for shortstop, Alderson said there were no substantive discussions with the Arizona Diamondbacks before Didi Gregorius was shipped to the Yankees last week. Early on, the D-backs had indicated they wanted Noah Syndergaard for Gregorius, according to Mets insiders.

“We’ve looked at all the shortstop possibilities,” Alderson said. “We knew Arizona was looking for young pitching. There’s some young pitching we weren’t prepared to trade, but I can’t say we had a lot of extensive conversations with Arizona.”

Sources tell ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets have had discussions with the Seattle Mariners about their young shortstops -- Brad Miller and Chris Taylor. Miller, who is known for his bat, did start taking fly balls in the outfield this past season. So it’s not entirely necessary that Seattle trades him. Miller, 25, hit .221 with 10 homers and 36 RBIs in 367 at-bats with Seattle last season.

The Mets are expected to wait into January to see if they can get a shortstop on their terms -- whether via trade, or if a free agent such as Jed Lowrie remains unemployed.

Asked if something might occur at this week’s winter meetings as far as a free-agent shortstop, Alderson said: “I’d say further down the line, probably.”

As for Flores as the 2015 shortstop, the GM added: “I’d say where we are today, that’s the likelihood. But that doesn’t mean it’ll happen. But if you look around at all the possibilities, is it more likely than not? Probably.”

Meanwhile, the Mets have dismissed Troy Tulowitzki as a possibility and the Chicago Cubs are uninterested in trading Starlin Castro.

Alderson again projected that prospect Matt Reynolds will open next season at Triple-A. So, for now, Ruben Tejada is the backup middle infielder behind Flores and Daniel Murphy.

“Reynolds is not on the roster. I expect he will be invited to spring training,” Alderson said. “We’ll see how he does in the spring. But, if I had to bet right now, I’d say he ends up probably back in Las Vegas.

“You know, if you look at his track record at the minor-league level, last year was an outstanding year. But it wasn’t an outstanding year on top of an outstanding year on top of an outstanding year. So I think there’s probably more experience that’s necessary there. He’s certainly someone we like middle to long term.”

The Mets also need a second lefty reliever to complement Josh Edgin.

And they are hoping to add a righty bat for the bench as an upgrade over Eric Campbell, with Jonny Gomes and Ryan Ludwick among the possibilities. Absent that addition, Campbell and Michael Cuddyer might be in the lineup against southpaws, with one starting at first base and the other in the outfield.

Alderson suggested both the right bat and lefty reliever might be more realistic to obtain later this month or in January as opposed to at the winter meetings.