(Carlos Beltra, after striking out against Colorado’s Brian Fuentes last night in the 9th inning)

…or rather, The Mets’ debate over who to buy/rent and at what price, isn’t overwrites Newsday’s David Lennon.

As the front office continued to mull their trade options, the Mets on-field momentum fizzled in a 5-3 loss to the Rockies last night at Coors Field. In a game delayed one hour, 42 minutes by rain, Tom Glavine allowed eight hits and five runs in six innings in suffering his first defeat since June 19.

Back in 2002, with the Expos clinging to contention, then-general manager Omar Minaya pulled off trades for both Floyd and Bartolo Colon in deals that still failed to vault Montreal into the playoff chase.

Minaya now faces a similar situation with the Mets, and while the temptation is to do whatever it takes to play meaningful games in September, the organization probably doesn’t possess the young talent to do so.

With only five days left before Sunday’s 4 p.m. (ET) trade deadline, the asking prices remain exorbitant, and the names that keep coming up in every conversation are Double-A outfielder Lastings Milledge, the club’s top position prospect, and the No. 1 pitcher in their farm system, Double-A righthander Yusmiero Petit. Both were in the Futures Game this month, and every club talking to the Mets wants them.

The Rangers, according to a person familiar with the situation, have pushed for Milledge and Petit in any swap for Alfonso Soriano, and the possibility of that trade was characterized yesterday as “increasingly doubtful.”

The Mets have wanted Soriano almost from the minute the Yankees dealt him to Texas in the Alex Rodriguez blockbuster in 2004. But the two sides have had difficulty finding a match, mostly because the Rangers initially requested Jose Reyes, then were denied Scott Kazmir.

And if the Mets do put together a successful package for Soriano, that would certainly take them out of the running for a top reliever like the Devil Rays’ Danys Baez. The Mets have identified bullpen help as one of their priorities after first-year manager Willie Randolph has been forced to play mix-and-match to this point, but Tampa Bay wants a premium prospect for Baez, which again brings the Mets back to Milledge and Petit.

Unlike Minaya’s shopping frenzy in 2002, it appears the Mets have enough to only satisfy one of their most glaring needs.

After finishing their 10-game homestand at 7-3, and closing to within ½ games of the NL East leaders, Atlanta and Washington, the Mets also could choose to do some less expensive fine-tuning instead.

The Mariners’ Ron Villone is among the relievers the Mets are considering; the 35-year-old lefthander is 2-3 with a 2.35 ERA in 48 appearances this season.

Elsewhere, Lennon points out that last night’s victory brought the Rockies’ to a 19-28 mark since June 1 — the best in the NL West in that time. Forget about 2005, Omar should concentrate on petitioning for realignment in 2006.

Colorado rookie SS Clint Barmes — who couldn’t spell ATV if you spotted him the “TV” — is said to be aiming for a September return. The Rockies already have Barmes running up and down several flights of stairs carrying deer meat, just to make certain he’s ready.