Mets Outfield Options- Matt Holliday, Barry Bonds And More

Before yesterday afternoon, I thought that the Mets would hold tight until after the All-Star break to see if Moises Alou could make it back onto the active roster. Well, we got the news today that Alou is likely gone for the season with a torn hamstring.

Ryan Church is on the disabled list for the second time with post concussion symptoms. It’s the fourth time this season that he’s been on the DL due to two concussions since March. We really don’t know what his long term situation is. Mike Matheny and Corey Koskie both retired within the last two seasons due to concussion related problems. It’s a dicey scenario for Church.

Now I’ve come to the conclusion that the Mets need to put together a short list of outfielders to go after. I love the way Endy Chavez and Fernando Tatis have performed this season. Don’t get me wrong. But I think that both of them are best seen in small doses.

I’m not in favor of rushing a prospect to the majors either. Everyone wants to see what Fernando Martinez can do, including me. But rushing guys to the bigs can be a recipe for failure. The Mets are built to win now, stocked with veterans that aren’t here to play for the future.

So I’ve worked on my list of outfielders that the Mets need to start looking into prior to the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline. Here’s the list:

Long Shots

Matt Holliday– The king of the outfield trade bait. He’s got a year and a half left before Scott Boras takes him out to free agency. His home/away splits are drastic. He’s a big time Coors Field hitter but just above average away from home. He’ll cost an arm and a leg to trade for. Start with Fernando Martinez, Aaron Heilman, and go from there. The Rockies might even want John Maine. Too costly for my taste.

Jason Bay– He’s another player that isn’t eligible for free agency until after ‘09. He’ll be pricey to obtain. But you have to like his .291/ .394/ .529. Righty with power is just what the Mets need. Again, it’s Fernando Martinez plus to get him.

Xavier Nady– Free agent after ‘09. He’d be a perfect fit for the Mets (again). Universally thrilled Mets fans with terrific play in his first tour of duty with the Mets. May be back for a second. The Pirates would certainly want Heilman plus several top prospects but may not Martinez.

Pat Burrell– He’s having an excellent season and he’ll be a free agent at the end of this season. There’s no way the Phils will trade him to the Mets. Although I’d love to see what he could do playing half his games at Shea. He might break records.

Marcus Thames– He’s killing the ball for the Tigers this season, well above his career averages. The Mets should have moved on him prior to the season. Now he’ll be very costly. But he’s a righty with power that can play the corner outfield spots and first base. Perfect fit.

Could Be Obtained

Frank Catalanotto- Born in Smithtown. The Mets could get him from the Rangers but he’s a lefty hitter going into a lefty heavy lineup already. Not ideal. He can play some first base too.

Adam Dunn– He’s got a limited no trade clause that’s rumored to include the big market teams. So he’ll want a contract extension to accept a trade to the Mets. No thanks.

Juan Rivera– The Angels outfield is so deep that he doesn’t get much time. Righty that’s played in New York. I thought the Mets should have tried to get him before the season started.

Brian Giles– The Padres are terrible and would love to dump him and his $9 million salary. By the way, he gets an extra $2 million if he’s traded but this is the last year of his contract. There is a club option for next year with a $3 million buyout. His power numbers are fading fast.

Randy Winn– Decent player but making a lot of money this year and next, $8 and $8.25 million respectively. Limited no trade clause that blocks ten teams.

Eric Hinske– Losing time in right field to Gabe Gross in Tampa. He’s only making $800K this year. He’s got a nice power stroke.

Ken Griffey, Jr.- He’s making a lot of money and going to a contender has never been important to him. He’d probably turn down a trade to the Mets (again).

Raul Ibanez- The Mariners would love to dump his salary. Another lefty that’s on the decline. He’ll be a free agent after this season.

Matt Murton- The A’s just got him in the Harden trade but could turn him around to someone else. A righty that hasn’t lived up to his potential but he’s still young enough to find it.

Free Agents

Barry Bonds- Brings baggage to say the least. Another lefty that can barely play the field. He can still hit though.

Reggie Sanders– Righty with power but his last two seasons in KC were pretty bad.

Kenny Lofton– He’s 41 now but his offense didn’t seem to drop off much the last few years. He’s a lefty with no power though.

Shawn Green– We already know what he can do. But he hasn’t filed retirement papers with the league.

In conclusion, I would shoot for Hinske or Murton. They would give the Mets the power that they need without giving up top prospects. It would probably cost Heilman but the Mets could live with that. I don’t think that Omar Minaya has the stomach to trade Fernando Martinez right now, especially for a short term player. Too many bad memories of Scott Kazmir for the fans. We still haven’t gotten over that one even though it wasn’t Minaya at the helm.

The free agent list doesn’t do it for me. Bonds is a consideration if a reasonable trade can’t be worked out. The good news is that he doesn’t cost any players as a free agent. But I can’t see Fred Wilpon giving that signing the thumbs up.

Generally, the long shot list is just too pricey. Matt Holliday makes me nervous with the big home/away split stat difference. If Marcus Thames could be obtained for a reasonable price, Minaya should go for it. He’s a nice versatile player that would fit perfectly here. The Tigers have needs in the bullpen that the Mets could fill too without breaking the bank.

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