With the trade deadline only 10 days away, everyone is wondering what big moves the Mets can make to jump start the club and get them back to being the team we saw during the final two months of the 2015 season.
That’s all well and good but not as simplistic as it would seem. The thing is, we are looking at two very different teams and as the old saying goes, no two seasons are ever alike. You can’t look at last year and apply the same fixes and expect the same result, it just doesn’t work that way.
At the last trade deadline we moved eight different prospects and minor leaguers to bolster the team as we did. This year, there just isn’t that same excess and depth to do the same thing. And even if the Mets could bring in another Cespedes-like impact bat, who is he? Where is he? Where does he play? What will he cost?
All the writers who cover the Mets are saying the same thing regarding what the Mets will do before the trade deadline, and they all agree that the front office is not looking for an impact bat, and are mostly looking for an arm for the bullpen and possibly a back of the rotation starter if one can be had at a reasonable price.
The fact is that the Mets already made their big splash offensive additions. Their names are Kelly Johnson, James Loney and Jose Reyes. That’s it. There will be no run at Carlos Gonzalez or Jonathan Lucroy.
Terry Collins summed things up quite perfectly when he said this is the team we’ve got and this is the team we have to try and win with. Sandy Alderson didn’t mince words a week ago when he said his expectation is that this current group of players is good enough to make the post season and that’s what he expects them to do.
Of course the big concern is that since April 27 the Mets have been a .500 team with a 37-37 record. Even with the losses od David Wright and Matt Harvey, nobody expected this team to underperform as they have, or that they would post such woeful offensive numbers across many categories other than home runs.
But here we are on July 21 with 94 games in the books and the Mets are 6.5 games behind the first place Nationals in the NL East and a game behind the Miami Marlins for the second wild card.
There’s only 68 games left for the Mets to show what kind of team they really are. Ten of those games are against the Marlins, who we play this weekend, six more against the Nationals, and six against the St. Louis Cardinals who are tied with the Mets in the wild card standings.
“They’re all big now,” Terry Collins said after Wednesday’s 6-2 loss to the Cubs, and he’s right.
There’s no real margin for error and Kelly Johnson emphasized that last night. “It’s going to be like that for the rest of the year. How many series are we going to play that are going to have no bearing? They’re all going to have some sort of bearing. We’re just going to have to go out and win as many as we can.”
I believe the Mets lost an opportunity to build off that dramatic win on Tuesday. What Jeurys Familia did felt like a momentum builder, but unfortunately all that adrenaline and energy didn’t translate the way I had hoped.
All season long I’ve been waiting for that moment when the Mets would reel off a 10 or 12 game winning streak. But it never happened and I’m not as confident that it ever will happen given their inconsistent play over the last three months.
As we enter play on Friday, the objective for the Mets is quite clear and was pointed out quite bluntly by Terry Collins.
“We’re sitting here right now going to play the Marlins, and they’re playing very well. There’s no doubt, we have to take two out of three. We have to make up some ground. That’s what this time of year is about.”
These next six games against the Marlins and Cardinals are going to be very telling. They will tell the story of what kind of team the Mets are. They need to play clean crisp baseball on defense, they need to take advantage of whatever the other teams give us, they must continue pitching like they did in the first three months of the season, and of course… a few clutch hits with runners in scoring position certainly wouldn’t hurt.
The bottom line is to stop worrying about what we don’t have and focus on winning with what we do have – which is still substantial. Or as Wilmer Flores said, “We’ve just got to win every game that we play. It doesn’t matter if it’s an important series or not. We’ve got to win. That’s it.”