Let's pretend you are Sandy Alderson. You just became the new General Manager of the New York Mets. The Mets—a team on the brink of disarray and implosion. The owners of the team, Fred and Jeff Wilpon are knee-deep in the Bernie Madoff scam. The team has been a major disappointment to fans for the past four seasons, due to a number of factors.
Your task, as intimidating as it might seem, is to get this team back to the playoffs and make it a winning franchise again. You've hired a new manager (Terry Collins) to lead this squad. You have made a flurry of minor deals during the offseason to fill holes, focusing on value more than quality.
So what's next? There's the impending contract status of shortstop Jose Reyes, whose current deal expires at the end of the 2011 season. And then there is Johan Santana, the team's ace who is currently recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left (pitching) shoulder.
Santana has begun playing catch, and is scheduled to throw off of a mound around May 1, outlining a possible late June/early July return.
Santana, 32, is locked up until 2013 (with a club option for 2014). He will earn $72 million from now until 2013. So the question is, do you try and trade the two-time Cy Young Award winner, or see if he can still salvage this organization and lead the team back to glory?
The answer may depend on where the Mets are in the standings once the trade deadline starts to loom. If 2011 is shaping up to be another down year for the Queens team, here's a look at some potential teams that could look to move in on the ace left-hander.
(Note: Santana's contract gives him a full no-trade clause).