A .500 Team? We Are Not Even Close… So Lets Trade!
I have seen this sentiment posted quite a bit as a reason to trade Beltran and “insert name here” many times. The chief argument being that we are 7.5 games out of the playoff race and have not been able to make up any ground in a month despite playing some pretty good baseball. (I’m not even going to mention the loss of Wright and Davis here!Oops guess I did!) The assumption is that we are not as good as the Phillies or Braves and that a 7.5 game deficit is proof of it. The Phillies? Well no one is as good as the Phillies (.634) and while we may not be better than the Braves in the standings, based on record in head to head competition we are 5-4 over them. But the standings say they are the better team, That is until you look back to that dreadful start to the season that started all the fire sale talk.
We opened the season at 5-13. Since then we have gone 46-38. That leaves us with a .500 record and those 7.5 games out of the wild card. But where would we be if we had not gone 5-13? Where would we stand if we were
.500 during those first 18 games? Suppose we went 9-9? Well that would leave us with a record of 55-47. Good enough to be leading the division if we were in the NL or AL Central or just 4 games out of the NL and AL West. It would also put us 3.5 games back in the Wild Card! Second only to Atlanta, who we have a one game advantage over in head to head competition, and tied with Arizona, who we swept the last time we played them. Is that really a team we should rebuild, tear down and scrap? Or is it the solid base to build on with pitching and some minor offensive upgrades at a couple of positions?
If we had that record last year at this time we would be one game ahead of the Phillies and 2 games out of first place(Braves). Did that Philly team become sellers and scrap what they had? Or did they become buyers and get part of the pitching they needed to win 97 games when 2010 concluded, winning the division by 6 games and then adding Cliff Lee in the offseason that has pretty much made them the best team in baseball today?
Well we DID go 5-13 to start the season and it can’t be ignored but just maybe it can be explained and dismissed as an anomaly. You see this team now has some fight to it. They do not give up! Even with two outs they are more likely to score a run than end the inning. They have a new manager who in April was still learning and evaluating his talent and now that he has had a chance to see and know his players he has them playing as good as just about anyone.
What lacked on this team was not so much the players, but the winning attitude and the fighting killer instinct. Want proof it exists? Well look no further than Jason Isringhausen last night who refused to give in and got his 3rd consecutive save since becoming our closer. This is a guy who was ready to give up and retire in spring training and now is playing some inspired baseball.
Some think this team isn’t real and isn’t really competitive and what they have done since going 5-13 isn’t real. Well if 46-38 as a sample is not real then how is 5-13?
We are a .500 team despite that awful beginning and if we had David Wright, Ike Davis, Johan Santana and one more ACE we might be even better and maybe even avoided that 5-13 start altogether.
Trading Beltran makes sense from a business standpoint, but not so much from a baseball standpoint. The guy we expected to play the least has played the most, and won many a game for us. While there are still plenty of question marks about what our team may look like in 2012, the time to consider what to keep and build upon in 2012 is now. The Phillies did that this time last year when they were 5 games out of first and 3.5 games out of the Wild Card. Precisely where we would be if Terry Collins had put that fight into his team before the season started and avoided that 5-13 start.
It may be too late to get back into 2011, but it would appear we have a fine starting point right now towards making 2012 count. We look at this team with the Picard suit and 5-13 in the back of our minds, but those situations no longer reflect the current realities of the monetary situation and those being seen on the field.
If the Braves could blow a 6 game division lead to the Phillies in 2010 (and ending up 6 games behind at the end, a 12 game shift!) merely by the Phillies adding one pitcher at the deadline then we too can make up 7.5 games on them and win the Wild Card. But we won’t do that if we GIVE UP on 2011, trade away what helps us win, because it would undo the main contribution our Manager has managed to bring to us since going 5-13. The FIGHTING SPIRIT!
If we give up then the team might as well too! And then everything Collins has accomplished so far would be lost!
This Fan Post was submitted be Metsie.