All for Santana

For the Mets

Good Bets to Go

Carlos Gomez

Why he will go: Because the Mets can trade him, a high-upside center fielder, without worrying about the position in the near future, thanks to Carlos Beltran. Because Minnesota likes him, and has asked about him on several occasions in the past. Because he’s probably not ready for 2008, and the Mets have a player in front of him developmentally in Lastings Milledge, and one behind him in Fernando Martinez.

Why he won’t go: Because if Minnesota wants someone to plug in immediately, Milledge is a surer bet, though without the same level of raw tools.

Lastings Milledge

Why he will go: Because he offers Minnesota a plus-defensive center fielder who already hit better than league average as a 22-year-old. He is younger than Melky Cabrera, most scouts see his long-term potential as better, and he’ll be more valuable to Minnesota than the Mets because he won’t play center field for New York.

Why he won’t go: If the Mets can package around Gomez, even if it means giving up more secondary players in the deal, they’ll do it, since Milledge is penciled in to start in right field in 2008.

Mike Pelfrey

Why he will go: He offers a frontline pitching prospect. Even though he has struggled at the major-league level, his fastball velocity remained consistent through the second half of the season, and if he simply fails to become consistent with his off-speed pitches, he still profiles well as a closer. If they work, he can be a top-flight starter.

Why he won’t go: He may not be a better in-house option than the pitchers Minnesota already has.

Kevin Mulvey

Why he will go: An insane home run rate in AA (4 home runs in 151 2/3 innings) and major-league polish to his pitches make this average-stuff pitching prospect a lesser-but-comparable counterweight to Ian Kennedy.

Why he won’t go: The Mets will need someone to step in when Orlando Hernandez gets hurt next year. Also, a groundball pitcher is less effective on turf. (See Wang, Chien-Ming.)

Higher-Stakes Possibilities

Philip Humber

Why he will go: If the Twins want a potential buy-low prospect, Humber is a nice bet. His numbers in AAA last year look artificially mediocre in the hitter-happy Pacific Coast League. But he was a top prospect and is now sufficiently removed from Tommy John Surgery to regain more sharpness on the three pitches he can command. And taking a chance on quantity over quality in the risk-rich world of pitching prospects is almost always a good idea.

Why he won’t go: If Pelfrey and Mulvey are already in the deal, the Mets would really leave themselves without a viable starting option if El Duque goes down. And the odds of that happening are, well, it’s happening.

Fernando Martinez

Why he will go: If the Twins demand a second high-level hitting prospect, the 19-year-old Martinez offers a plus bat. He also held his own at AA as an 18-year-old, which is rare. That he did it while playing through a broken hand makes questions about his ceiling moot at this point.

Why he won’t go: The Mets love him desperately, and if the Twins want more immediate help, both Milledge and Gomez are likely to provide that sooner.

Jose Reyes

Why he will go: His September swoon frustrated the front office and angered Mets fans. If the Yankees offer Cano, and the Mets want to top the offer, Reyes may be the only w
ay to persuade Minnesota.

Why he won’t go: Even Jim Duquette himself, father of Kazmir-for-Zambrano, knows you don’t trade gold-glove caliber shortstops with top-level offensive games entering their age 25-seasons. That combination might be the only thing harder to find in baseball than a number-one starter.

All for Santana