Omar Minaya is in a very tough spot. The Mets' GM, who is likely working for his job, and his team are at a major crossroads this season.
A team that seemed poised to contend with the NL's best less than a month ago, now find themselves on the verge of virtual elimination from post-season contention.
So, Minaya is working as the 4:00 EST deadline approaches on trades that will both better the team for this year and as the team moves forward.
Though he is concerned about his job security, the Mets GM will not "mortgage the future" for a pipe dream of a post-season appearance.
The problem for Minaya is that any trade he makes to make the team better will cost the team a young player they need.
Teams are asking for slugging first baseman Ike Davis in trades and when the Mets asked about Cubs' pitcher Ted Lilly, the Cubs asked for young catching prospect Josh Thole in return. The Mets refused the offer.
When the Mets turned their attention to Brett Myers, the Houston Astros asked for Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell. The Mets refused again as the trade for Myers would not help the Mets. It simply replaces one pitcher in the rotation in Niese with a comparable alternative in Myers. It would also cost them a young flame-throwing reliever in Parnell.
The casual observer might ask the question, "Where are the counter-offers?" The truth is, the Mets do not have a counter-offer that approximates the initial request in either trade. They don't have a second catching prospect like Thole and they especially don't have a pitching prospect like Niese.
If they had a pitching prospect like Niese, he would be in the rotation already and the Mets may not be looking for a pitcher like Lilly or Myers.
If you take a look at the Phillies, who were able to acquire the second best pitcher on the market in Roy Oswalt, all it basically cost them was J.A. Happ and a secondary prospect.
Happ is a pitcher who is quite comparable to Niese, but here is the difference the Phillies don't need Happ. They already have a set rotation and were not relying on Happ as the Mets are with Niese.
When Cliff Lee was dealt, Texas was able to part with Justin Smoak, a great hitting prospect, because their team was stacked with hitting talent. They were able to deal from a point of strength just as the Phillies did with Happ.
So when the deadline comes and goes and the Mets do nothing, understand it is because any trade the Mets can make is a lateral move.
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