Let me preface this by saying that I think the Mets will be sellers come July 31st. Here is my reasoning:
In order for Sandy Alderson to consider the Mets a playoff contender on the morning of July 31st, I believe the Mets will need to be within five games of the wild card leader, which will almost assuredly be Atlanta.
(Forget about the division, as that’s been over with since mid-December.)
Unfortunately for New York, the second best team in the National League is the same team they need to make serious ground on by the trade deadline.
How much exactly? I think the Mets will need to pick up three full games on Atlanta by the time play is over on July 30th. The logic being:
The Mets are sitting 7.5 out (ignoring all of the teams they must eventually leapfrog). Both the Mets and the Braves have 16 games between now and the end of play on July 30th. (Here are their schedules…)
- NYM Schedule Through July 30: vs. Philadelphia (3), vs. Florida (1), vs. St. Louis (3), @ Florida (3), @ Cincinnati (4) @ Washington (2).
- ATL Schedule Through July 30: vs. Washington (3), @ Colorado (4), @ Cincinnati (3), vs. Pittsburgh (4), vs. Florida (2).
The Mets will need to win three more games than Atlanta during this stretch in order to pull within my magic number of 4.5 games out in the Wild Card Race.
That is a tall order.
If the Braves were to go 9-7, the Mets would then have to go 12-4. If the Braves were to go 11-5, the Mets would then have to go 14-2. If the Braves were to go a measly 7-9, the Mets still would have to win 10 out of 16.
To make the task appear more daunting, the Mets schedule is far more challenging. Mets opponents over this stretch are a combined 22 games above .500 while the Braves opponents are a combined 8 games under.
So while three games does not seem like a ridiculous amount of ground to gain, it really is tough to think they can do it in this specific time period.
Once again, the target number is based on my personal feeling that it is reasonable to consider a team a contender if they are within five games at the trade deadline. Perhaps the Mets front office feels differently, but I doubt it’s too far off.
I hate to say it, but the Mets probably won’t be playing meaningful baseball late into the season. Even ignoring the fact that the team is schizophrenic and undermanned, the Mets would need to utterly tear it up and get help.
The implications? Carlos Beltran’s days as a Met are probably numbered. K-Rod, too. Perhaps others as well.
Though Beltran looked awful tonight, I’d hate to see him go. He’s been the only consistent threat in the middle of the order this year. That said, if the Mets aren’t reasonably in contention, I’ll support shopping him around.
(Jason might have to curl up into a ball at the thought of his favorite player performing elsewhere.)
Who knows what Sandy is thinking, but he’s probably had this all figured out since he took the job.
Wow, that was depressing.