LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Second base is important, but the Mets’ priority is the bullpen.
A day after indicating he may wait out the market in his attempt to land a free-agent reliever, general manager Sandy Alderson sounded more optimistic he could leave these Winter Meetings with another arm for his bullpen.
The Mets remain high on workhorse Bryan Shaw, but also have Tommy Hunter, Steve Cishek and Anthony Swarzak high on their list of options, according to industry sources.
“We are still focused most immediately on the bullpen,” Alderson said Monday. “We keep monitoring what’s going on. We sense there is more activity on the bullpen side. So that continues to be our priority as it becomes a priority for other teams as well, and agents.”
The Cubs’ addition of Brandon Morrow on Sunday was the first big bullpen splash of the meetings. Morrow signed a two-year deal worth $21 million, setting the market for anyone not named Wade Davis or Greg Holland.
Alderson seeks a quality arm to complement Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos and Jerry Blevins in the late innings.
But the Mets also plan to limit most of their starting pitchers to going twice through the batting order next season — Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom would be exempt — putting an increased emphasis on the bullpen.
“Bullpens have become increasingly important because of industry trends, as well as our own particular situation,” Alderson said. “We want to have enough depth to approach our pitching staff in its entirety, with a view toward trends and not so much be governed by trends, but be governed by the reality of success and failure as a pitching staff. We have as much depth now as we’ve had in the last couple of years, but we want to add to it.”