Upon learning the New York Mets haven’t made one phone call to inquire as to the price for the A’s Matt Holliday (above), the New York Post’s Joel Sherman is quick to stress he’s not necessarily advocating such a trade. He is, however, wondering if “the absence of a call screams about two horrible possibilities for the Mets both in the short and long runs: 1) their front office is negligent. 2) the Madoff affair has left the organization so depleted of funds that Minaya knows that there is no use even calling about big-ticket items.”

The bigger issue is simply about doing the job properly. Constantly talking with your fellow executives is how ideas are either created or fine-tuned. You chat about Holliday and end up brainstorming on other issues. But I have just heard from too many officials around the game that the Met front office is not as engaged in this process as most and is not particularly good in returning calls and/or doing follow-up calls.

The more ominous possibility is that Minaya is just not pursuing anything with a significant cost because he knows he can’t. Jeff Wilpon has said that losing hundreds of millions in the Bernie Madoff debacle would not impact Mets’ operations. And the Mets do have the NL’s highest payroll, and their executives did receive year-end bonuses and raises. Minaya recently said he could add payroll if he wanted, but just has not found anything to his liking.

However, during this season the Mets have not behaved like a team willing to add dollars.

Take the example of Eric Hinske. A week before the Yankees acquired Hinske he was on waivers, which meant for about half his salary (around $800,000), the Mets could have added lefty power and league-average production to an offense sorely lacking in both areas.

But what does this underscore: That Minaya really is not allowed to add even $800,000? Or that he does not go far enough in appreciating the value of upgrading roster depth, especially when that upgrade does not cost even marginal prospects?

Neither is positive for the Mets as the second half begins: Are they poorly run or just poor?