With the Phillies and Braves seemingly in command of their division and wild card leads respectively, the Mets continue to hover around the .500 mark in the dog days of August, as they have all season.
As manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson have said repeatedly the past two weeks, all of the players are playing and auditioning for jobs with the Mets next season. I think it’s safe to say the the only players who are assured of being back in 2012 are Johan Santana and Jason Bay mostly because they will be too tough to move with two years remaining on their hefty contracts. Pedro Beato will have options next season and could begin the season in the minors if he fails to impress down the stretch or in spring training. Bobby Parnell, Justin Turner, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole, Lucas Duda, and Daniel Murphy have met and occasionally exceeded expectations as a whole, but Alderson would probably listen to any trade offers for them if it means an upgrade at their positions.
If the Mets fail to re-sign Jose Reyes, they could entertain offers for Ike Davis and/or David Wright to accomodate a power bat free agent signing in Prince Fielder. I certainly hope the Mets do not go in that direction, but they do lack a bona fide power bat in their lineup. The rest of the starting staff and bullpen is in definite need of an upgrade. All the chips could be dangled there.
There is still a chance for the 2011 Mets to make some noise in the division. 26 games remain against NL East teams, including six each against the Braves and Phillies. If the Mets could play the roll of spoilers sucessfully down the stretch, it should make for an interesting offseason that should favor the front office, players and fans.
Going into this season, all the talk was about the front office turmoil, the hefty contracts of Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran, and the impending free agency of Jose Reyes. If the Mets could finish the 2011 season with a winning record, they would have defied all the odds going into the season. As a team, the satisfactory conclusion should be 85 wins. Even if it doesn’t mean playing in the post season.