New York Mets: 5 Hitters They Should Consider Trading for by July 31

Stephen SmithContributor IIIJune 29, 2012

New York Mets: 5 Hitters They Should Consider Trading for by July 31

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    Despite the New York Mets' wind-aided hitting barrage recently against the hapless Cubs, it's imperative for general manager Sandy Alderson to try and improve their shaky lineup before the trade deadline.

    The Amazins are a predominately left-handing hitting team and manager Terry Collins needs to get more production from the right side of the plate. David Wright is enjoying an All-Star campaign and Scott Hairston has been terrific against southpaws so far but if New York is too make a serious run at a wild card spot, Alderson has to be aggressive at the trading deadline and acquire a viable right-handed bat to bolster their offensive attack.

    Mets fans deserve that.

    Jason Bay is trying to return from another concussion but can he be trusted to finally provide the offense he was signed to provide? He's been a total bust.

    With the July 31 trading deadline a little more than a month away, here are five right-handed batters Alderson should consider trading for to help keep the Mets in the playoff hunt...

#5: Jonny Gomes, Oakland A's

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    The 31-year-old outfielder makes just $1 million this season which must be music to Alderson's ears.

    In just 130 at-bats this season, Gomes has cracked eight homers and knocked in 21 runs while batting .254. Against southpaws, Gomes is hitting a solid .281 and owns a .516 slugging percentage. What is even more impressive is his .313 average with runners in scoring position (RISP).

    The Petaluma, CA native can play both left and right field and would be a defensive upgrade over the plodding Lucas Duda in right field.

Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres

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    Now that he is healthy again, Quentin is enjoying a fine season for the dismal Padres.

    The 29-year-old outfielder is hitting a robust .325 with six HR and 14 RBI in only 80 at-bats. His other numbers are outstanding as well—a .443 OBP and a .638 SLG. Quentin is also batting .375 against southpaws.

    Why would the Padres consider moving him? He is making $7 million this year and San Diego is in a rebuilding mode. Neither the Mets or Padres want a large payroll so if New York could pay half of Quentin's remaining salary for 2012 and not have to give away a top prospect, a deal could be struck.

#3: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs

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    I know, I know. Soriano's contract is one of the worst in baseball history. $19 million this season? Give me a break. Two years remaining on this bloated covenant? Yikes.

    The Cubs would have to be willing to eat a huge portion of this horrific contract to even have any suitors be remotely interested. Should the Mets be one of those interested parties?

    Perhaps. Here's why.

    Chicago is clearly in a restructuring mode under the direction of new GM Theo Epstein. After a dreadful start, Soriano has been surging lately—10 home runs in his last 30 games—and the Cubs appear to be on their way to a 100-loss campaign. Epstein is looking to unload the dead wood, so to speak.

    It's doubtful the Mets would try and trade for the 36-year-old outfielder especially with Jason Bay's contract still on the books. However, if they can be accountable for only $4-5 million a season and give up some low-level prospects in return, it could be worth a shot.

    Soriano's line is presently 14/45/.270. Those are pretty solid numbers for $4-5 million a season.

#2: Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies

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    It's been a disastrous season for the Colorado Rockies. Mired in fourth place, the Rockies may be looking to unload some of their high-priced talent for prospects. Cuddyer fits that category.

    Colorado would have to pay a large chunk of his $10.5 million dollar salary but the Mets would be getting a true professional hitter in return. The 12-year veteran outfielder/first baseman is a career .271 hitter with 152 home runs.

    Cuddyer belted a career-high 32 round trippers with the Twins in 2009. Currently in his first season with the Rockies, the Norfolk, VA native (same hometown as David Wright) has a respectable 11/47/.256 line this year for Colorado, including seven stolen bases.

    They could do a lot worse.

#1: Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

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    Josh Willingham has always been a Mets killer.

    With a career .295 average and 14 home runs against the Amazins, the Northern Alabama product has been a thorn in their side since 2004.

    Now it's time to join them, not beat them.

    The Twins are suffering through a brutal season and may soon be looking to unload veteran contracts. Willingham is making just $7 million this season so if a July 31st deal is consummated, the prorated portion would only cost the money conscious Mets a little more than $3 million.

    Willingham can slide into Bay's slot in left field and he can still rake with 15 HR, 49 RBI and a .272 batting average for Minnesota.

    Look at those numbers again closely—that's what Mets management was expecting from Bay at this point in the season.