The New York Mets and free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta met privately at this week's GM meetings, according to a report from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Sources tell Heyman that Peralta was spotted in Orlando where he had a face-to-face meeting with Mets officials.
Peralta, who has spent the past three and a half seasons playing in Detroit, has expressed interest in remaining a Tiger. However, Detroit appears ready to move on with defensive whiz Jose Iglesias entrenched at short, and top prospect Nick Castellanos slated to man left field in 2014.
The 31-year-old Peralta was suspended 50 games this past season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. An 11 year veteran and two-time All-Star, he returned just in time for the Tigers' postseason run to the ALCS, in which he hit an impressive .333 in 33 at-bats. Despite playing in just 107 games this year, Peralta still managed to hit .303/.358/.457 and post a 3.3 WAR, which was good for 2nd in the American League
The Mets lack a viable shortstop candidate for next season, with Ruben Tejada and Omar Quintanilla receiving the lion's share of playing time in 2013. New York has been reported to have interest in former Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew, however, Drew would cost the club a valuable second round draft pick (their 10th overall pick is protected), while Peralta does not come attached with draft pick compensation.
The Mets will likely be competing with multiple playoff-caliber teams for Peralta's services, with the Yankees, Pirates, Dodgers, and Cardinals each having holes at shortstop. Were they to trade Erick Aybar, the Angels could also be in the mix.