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Thursday, July 31, 2014
Mets stand pat at non-waiver deadline

By Adam Rubin

NEW YORK -- In the end, the Mets were neither buyers nor sellers.

Winners of 14 of their last 21, the Mets (52-56) allowed Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline to pass with no activity, as general manager Sandy Alderson had suggested Monday was the likelihood.

The Mets opted to retain Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy at the trade deadline, although Colon in reality appeared the only piece with some inclination to deal.

Alderson noted this week that Colon probably will command more in an offseason deal, provided he continued to produce through the end of the season.

The logic: Teams needing a starting pitcher this offseason might find acquiring Colon and taking on the $11 million owed in 2015 more palatable than signing a comparably talented (and albeit younger) free agent to a three- or four-year deal.

In Murphy’s case, it still appears very possible he gets dealt before reaching free agency at the end of the 2015 season -- whether that’s during the upcoming offseason or a year from now. In fact, Houston Astros documentation of trade conversations with the Mets regarding Murphy from December since has leaked (or was stolen and posted online, according to Astros officials).

Murphy, a first-time All-Star this season, is making $5.7 million and is arbitration-eligible one more time. His salary could exceed $8 million in 2015 and rise to more than $10 million a year in 2016 and beyond. So the Mets ultimately could use Murphy to acquire another potentially attractive piece or prospects and reallocate his dollars elsewhere. They have upper-level second-base prospects: Dilson Herrera in Double-A and Matt Reynolds in Triple-A, plus Wilmer Flores.

There were teams looking to acquire a second baseman at the trade deadline, including the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals. On Thursday, the Nats traded infield prospect Zach Walters to the Cleveland Indians for Asdrubal Cabrera and cash.

On the acquisition side, the Mets were uninterested in rental players. So the acquisition would have needed to make sense for 2015 and potentially beyond. Alderson said Monday, “It’s not clear that there’s something out there.”

A team insider told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday that there was no movement toward acquiring a shortstop. The source said there was one “intriguing” but not overly likely potential outfield acquisition. The source did not disclose the player but suggested after the deadline that he remained with his original team.

So Alderson’s heavy lifting shifts to the winter, when he clearly will need to upgrade at shortstop and left field. At one point, it seemed as though the Mets might need to address four positions this winter, but Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud’s ascents have shifted the offseason mandate to focusing on the positions currently occupied by Ruben Tejada and Chris Young.