From Left Field: Two Down, Four To Go

An article by posted on June 1, 2011

Today is June 1st, so that marks the one-third point of the season.

The Mets are eight games behind the Phillies for first place in the NL East and 6.5 games behind the Florida Marlins for the Wild Card.

While some claim it’s still too early to be scoreboard watching, I believe every game counts, especially when you’re the team trying to make up the most ground.

The thing about this year in both leagues is that very few teams are running away with their respective divisions, other than the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. The Yankees hold a 2.0 game lead over the Red Sox; the Rangers hold a 1.5 game lead over the Mariners; the Phillies are leading the Marlins by just 1.5 games; The Cardinals are up 2.5 games on the Brewers; and the Diamondbacks surprisingly lead the Giants by 0.5 games.

Many teams are hovering around the .500 plateau, so all it takes for the Mets is to string together 5-6 wins in a row and they are right back in the race.

However, the Mets brass must seriously analyze what they have with this team.

Sure, the Mets can hover around .500 and maybe even make a run that puts them within a few games of the Wild Card. But is the team good enough right now to compete with the Phillies, Marlins, Cardinals or other strong NL teams?

If the Mets fall out of the race early, they’ll no doubt be sellers. Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez and a few others could be sent packing.

But even if the Mets are hanging in the race, they still may be sellers. If the organization feels that it still doesn’t have the talent to make a run even if the Mets are playing good baseball, the trade chips may fall anyway in preparation for next year.

The decision would be a very tough one if the Mets are in this position. Therefore, I would either like to see the Mets play out of their minds (which seems unlikely) or slip far enough out of contention so that they start fresh.

What I don’t want to see is the team play decent baseball and hang in the race and then do one of the following things: 1) Trade their stars when they actually have a chance to win the Wild Card or 2) Act as buyers at the deadline only to falter big time over the final two months.

We shall see what unfolds as the team gets healthy, but since no one is pulling away, the Mets may find themselves firmly in the pack.

If they do, some very difficult decisions will be looming.

Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.

About the Author ()

Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He earned a Master's degree in journalism from Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Be sure to visit http://www.jimmancari.com/

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