As far as Retrosheet and I can tell, the last time the Mets and Braves hooked up for a trade was November 25, 1996, when the Mets sent Paul Byrd and a PTBNL (the inestimable Andy Zwirchitz) to the Braves for Greg McMichael. Over the years John Schuerholz has preferred to trade with Milwaukee, Kansas City or Oakland over the Mets.
But with a friendly new GM in Omar Minaya and a player with all the promise and last name of Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Salt-uh-la-ma-chee-a) on the board, anything is possible. As was pointed out in this space a week ago, the young catcher is a good fit with the Detroit Tigers. But with the Braves’ obvious dilemma of having one good young catcher too many, combined with the recent freak double-injury of Brian McCann and Brayan Peña forcing the Braves to give the youngster a major league debut for his 22nd birthday, other catching-starved organizations are bound to stand up and take notice.
The Mets’ 2008 catching situation was the subject of this MLBTR post. Without repeating what was said there, I’ll add that the Mets committed a big blunder by keeping single-A catcher Jesús Flores off their 40-man roster, allowing him to be taken by the Washington Nationals in the Rule 5 draft. While he is seriously overmatched in the big leagues, he could still develop into a solid, power-hitting backstop.
What, then, would it take for the Mets to acquire Salty? A Mets/Braves trade wouldn’t happen this year, so we shouldn’t be talking about improving the Braves’ 2007 rotation, at least not in this context. But would Philip Humber be of interest? The Braves also lack a solid left fielder, and will likely be short a center fielder come 2008. The Mets have three great prospects for these positions in Lastings Milledge, Carlos Gomez and Fernando Martínez. Finally, at first base the Mets could offer Mike Carp, who was so impressive this spring that he spent most of it with the big league Mets before being sent to AA-Binghamton.
If it took both Humber and Milledge to do it for the Mets, I think it would be worth it.
John Peterson writes for the Mets blog Blastings! Thrilledge.