"Are we prepared to overpay? Me personally? Yeah, I'm prepared to overpay," Alderson said. "But there has to be something to overpay for."
One part of the issue, Alderson said, is an overall lack of sellers -- Major League teams that consider themselves out of the playoff hunt. The other is the Mets' uncertainty about their own roster, particularly with regard to a return date for injured third baseman David Wright.
Alderson's conclusion is that while he and ownership are willing to add payroll, he does not envision the Mets acquiring someone who profiles as an everyday position player for the rest of the season.
"I've talked about having money available at the Deadline, but we're not going to be making two, three, four, five moves," Alderson said. "So we've got to be at least somewhat confident that what we're going to do here is going to help us.
"You get to a point where you're focused a little more on the short term than you are on the long term. And you get to a point where you're prepared, based on the short term, to do a little more than you'd otherwise do. But there still has to be something out there that's attractive, that you really believe is going to help you help your team. I don't think we're at the point … where there are that many people out there who are going to benefit us."
The counterargument is that right now, just about any fresh face with a Louisville Slugger would benefit the Mets. In losing seven of eight on their recent road trip, the Mets averaged 1.4 runs per game, scoring two or fewer in seven of those contests. The Mets entered Friday's play last in the National League in runs scored in June, and second to last in batting average and on-base percentage.
With skepticism mounting, Alderson characterized public perception of the Mets as "panic city."
"Obviously, we haven't hit," the GM said. "Not having the hitting puts pressure on every other aspect of the game. And so the little things that happen defensively, the little things that happen in a transition to the bullpen -- one bad pitch by a starter -- those things get magnified. Because we haven't had the ability to overcome those mistakes, mask those mistakes with a little bit of firepower."
Despite all that, it appears unlikely that any significant firepower will arrive from outside the organization -- at least not anytime soon. A superstar acquisition like Troy Tulowitzki has long been out of the question. Now a midrange import, such as Ben Zobrist or Martin Prado, does not appear imminent.
"We continue to look externally," Alderson said. "But what we have to remember … that it's not even July 1. Right now, it's a thin market. So I think the bottom line is, at least for the time being, until something breaks, we need to get the job done with what we have."