The Mets most likely will begin the season with Wilmer Flores at shortstop, general manager Sandy Alderson said this week. But if the Mets do find an alternative, it likely will come from a pool of candidates that has seemingly thinned out by the day.

While the Mets have not ruled out on placing a bid for South Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang, it's still more likely that they pass because of questions surrounding his defense and transition to Major League Baseball.

The rest of the free-agent market could yield some choices, though they also come with hurdles. According to a source, the Mets still have interest in free agents Stephen Drew and Everth Cabrera, who was non-tendered by the Padres recently.

But the Mets have shown little desire to go beyond low-risk, one-year deals.

The Mets also have had internal discussions regarding free agent Asdrubal Cabrera. But according to the source, major reservations about his defense at shortstop have prompted the Mets to decide against actively pursing the veteran.

While a trade for the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki appears far-fetched, the Mets still have interest in the Mariners shortstops Brad Miller and Chris Taylor. Miller, in particular, fits the Mets' desire for a shortstop with some offensive upside. But efforts to make a move for Miller have gained little traction.