Following up on the report earlier this evening that the Mets were discussing whether or not to surrender a second-round pick to sign one of the thirteen free agents who received a qualifying offer today, Mark Carig of Newsday has the following from Sandy Alderson:
Mets GM Sandy Alderson says giving up a 2nd round pick would not stand in the way of pursuing a top-tier free agent.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) November 5, 2013
There are, of course, other things that might prevent the Mets from signing such a free agent: money and a potentially long-term deal. If the Mets aren't able to sign any of the thirteen players, some of whom seem to be great fits for the team's needs, the team's willingness to give up a second-round pick in next year's draft will have been irrelevant.
For now, Alderson's words give at least a little bit of hope as the Mets enter the offseason. It's hard, if not impossible, to believe the Mets will spend money on any free agents until it happens, but with a protected first-round pick, the draft is a significantly less valid excuse for not signing a free agent this winter than it was last winter.