Sandy Alderson sees a difference in the way he and the Mets are being received this offseason. The Mets GM said he felt that teams and agents saw the franchise as having a little more credibility.

Well, except, it seems with the highest-profile player agent out there.

After the third day of the GM meetings, Scott Boras chided the Mets, a big market team, for limiting their payroll and coming into the offseason all but saying they will not be in the market for mega-contracts, those in the $100 million vicinity that they signed captain David Wright to last winter.

“The Mets are like NASA,” Boras said. “They have big rockets, a lot of platforms and very few astronauts. Astronauts are hard to find. They’ve got one guy with the ‘Wright’ stuff, that’s for sure. And they’ve got a lot of ‘Arm’-strongs, too. But they’re certainly a club that I’m sure that’s in pursuit of a higher level of talent.”

Alderson, when asked about the comment, chuckled and then disagreed.

“Let me think about this response,” Alderson said. “I don’t think his intergalactic metaphor is exactly right.”

When asked what was off, Alderson said: “I am not sure, I’ve got to first understand it.”

While Alderson has confidently said he comes into this offseason “better armed” than in any previous season as the Mets GM, Boras said that does not necessarily translate into splashy, big-named signings.

“I think the ability to spend and actually spending are two different things. And that’s only for the Mets to diagnose,” Boras said. “Certainly their franchise value has gone through the roof — they’re well over $2 billion. They’re a very successfully run business operation. The Mets have the ability to do pretty much what they want to do. But it’s hard to find astronauts.”

Later in the afternoon, Jeff Wilpon spent several minutes chatting affably with Boras, who represents free agent outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury as well as shortstop Stephen Drew, in the lobby of the JW Marriott Grande Lakes.

When asked later what they spoke about, the Mets COO quipped: “astronauts.”

Boras said he had not met with Alderson yet, but they had spoken by phone before the general manager meetings began.

The Mets feel they may be close to landing an astronaut — of some level — though it did not seem imminent by Wednesday evening. Alderson said that he had met with several agents representing free agents and several teams regarding trades.

In an unusual move, the Mets even met with free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta and his agent Tuesday night. Alderson said in those meetings he felt the Mets are being treated with more credibility.

“Now that we are actively engaged with agents now presents a different situation than we have had over the last two or three years,” Alderson said. “It’s all very early in the offseason. I think we are viewed differently, the team is viewed differently with more credibility in the free agent market.”

Said Wilpon of the asking prices of players: “It’s definitely a little scary. I don’t think it dissuades anybody. They’re just numbers right now that people are asking for. It doesn’t mean it’s a done deal.”