You are Omar Minaya, the General Manager of the New York Mets. It's July 31st, and you are now tied with the Phillies for the lead in the National League East. You have learned that both Ryan Church and Moises Alou are done for the season. Your offense has come around after a very ugly start, but you fear you may not have enough.
You have a trade on the table - Matt Holliday for a group of prospects, including 19-year old Fernando Martinez. What do you do?
First of all, it's clearly much easier to talk about this, than actually being Minaya and being faced with this kind of decision. But it is fun to speculate, isn't it?
So let's break this decision down, shall we? First, let's discuss why the Mets should make this kind of deal.
Holliday is 28 years of age and is signed through the end of the 2009 season. That means that if the Mets acquire Holliday, they will be getting more than just a rent-a-player. They will have him for a year and a half. Holliday does not have a no-trade clause in his contract, which means he can not veto any trade.
And of course, Holliday's bat (and glove) will automatically make the Mets the team to be in the East (again). This is a guy who has not hit fewer than 14 home runs in any of his big-league seasons, while driving in an average of 114 runs over his career. Just picture a lineup that looks like this:
SS - Jose Reyes
RF - Endy Chavez
LF - Matt Holliday
3B - David Wright
CF - Carlos Beltran
1B - Carlos Delgado
2B - Damion Easley/Luis Castillo
C - Brian Schneider/Ramon Castro
That's pretty darn good. And sure, you may be forced to trade your top prospect, but consider that Martinez has never played 100 games in his professional career. Even as a youngster, he's already been slowed by injuries. So could Martinez be damaged goods before he hits 20? The team was reluctant to include him in the Johan Santana trade, but maybe this is the time to deal the kid.
However, a case could just as easily be made as to why the Mets shouldn't trade Martinez. Too many times have the Mets been burned by trading away prospects, and after unloading the farm system to bring in Santana, Minaya could be hesitant to deplete the system any further.
But what if the Mets were able to add another partner in the deal? If they could make it a 3-team trade, perhaps they wouldn't have to trade as much of their farm system to acquire Holliday.
Now, clearly this is all speculation. There have been no official announcements that the Mets are making a run at Holliday. But it might make sense, especially with two-thirds of the starting outfield likely out for the season.
If the Mets aren't able to appease the Rockies enough to trade their All-Star outfielder, they could turn their attention to former Met, Xavier Nady. Nady, now with the Pirates, is hitting .321 with 12 homers and is versatile right-hander who can handle both corner outfield positions as well as a first base. Nady would make a great poor-man's Holliday, as he would provide the Mets with a right-handed option at first base to platoon with Carlos Delgado.
Whoever the Mets bring on before July 31st, they need to make at least a move, if they want to catch and defeat the Phillies. Whether it's an outfielder, second baseman or a reliever, the Mets still have some holes to fill if they want to play baseball in October. Met fans have seen Minaya drop the ball on several trades at the deadline, and would love nothing more than see a perennial MVP candidate in Queens, come August 1.