NEW YORK -- Thursday's hot rumor was Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Mets, who reportedly balked at the initial asking price: one of the same group of young, talented, battle-tested starting pitchers that everyone wants to acquire.
No one said improving the National League pennant winners was going to be easy. But the Mets recognized that -- both en route to and while departing the General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla. -- knowing they weren't likely to make any sort of splash there.
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Simmons was dealt to the Angels later Thursday for veteran shortstop Erick Aybar and two top pitching prospects.
"We're still kind of thinking about what the best direction would be based on what we've learned," Mets assistant general manager John Ricco said. "We're always ready to make a move, but given the fact we played all the way up until a week ago and we're still kind of digesting the information we got here, my gut tells me it's going to be a little bit longer-term proposition."
Several dynamics limited what the Mets could do in Florida. One was the fact that GM Sandy Alderson missed the Meetings due to a medical procedure, leaving Ricco to conduct business along with fellow lieutenants J.P. Ricciardi and Paul DePodesta. Another was that the Mets, as Ricco mentioned, are a month behind their usual offseason schedule, having played Game 5 of the World Series on Nov. 1. Yet another was that the Mets have very specific needs this offseason, most of them in the types of secondary markets that don't develop quickly.
As a result, Ricco and Co. spent the GM Meetings having broad conversations with a number of teams -- the Braves included -- and agents. It was a productive time for a team that would like to upgrade its outfield and bullpen, in addition to a potential middle-infield trade, even if not outwardly so.
"With Sandy not being here, the goal was to make sure we touched base with various clubs and agents that we thought might fit what we're looking for," Ricco said. "I think we clearly were able to do that.
"We had a lot of different meetings. We were able to get a pretty clear idea on some clubs -- on some other clubs, not so clear -- what they're looking to do. And also, we met with agents for the key players we think might be fits. So we head back. We'll regroup with Sandy back in New York and further define the plan for the offseason."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.