Despite the Mets hot streak going into the All-Star break, I still do not think they are good enough to be playoff contenders. However, they could be with a couple of shrewd moves, and I think they should go for it. If not now, when?
The Mets stand five games below .500, seven games out of the division lead and the Wild Card chase. They are certainly not in prime pouncing position, but with the NL East as weak as it is, the division is up for grabs. Why can’t the Mets grab it?
Well, because their offense is poor. How long do you think Lucas Duda and Ruben Tejada can keep hitting like this? Once they fall back into form, the offense will sag just like it did up until a week ago.
But if the Mets went out and got a couple of bats, they might be able to continue their strong showing of late. Shortstop and left field are the obvious places, although I would throw first base in as well (I am obviously not a Duda believer).
Much of the talk has been about Starlin Castro, but he would likely cost Zack Wheeler. Is it smart to trade young, quality starting pitching while you are making a playoff push? Probably not, but the Mets have plenty of young, quality pitching, so swapping some of it to fill a huge need might make sense.
As far as power hitting outfielders, there are just not many of them left in baseball, let alone bats who are actually available. I’m not sure whom they should target.
But one thing is for sure — that big bat will not come in a swap for Bartolo Colon. I am still in favor of trading him, but if anyone thinks the Mets can get a major league-ready power hitter for a 41-year-old pitcher, they should probably think again.
It seems a bit counter-productive to trade two-fifths of your rotation when you plan on making a push for the post season. But in the Mets case, that push will not happen with Wheeler and Colon and the same offensive crew. It is time for Sandy Alderson to take a chance and put the Mets in position to make the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
Trade Wheeler for Castro, which will be a move for the long-term as well as the present. And trade Colon for whatever you can. Maybe it could be for a helpful piece right now. Otherwise, it frees up $11 million for next season to get that big bat.
Now is the time to trade Colon. If Alderson waits for the off-season, there will be plenty of younger free agent pitchers who will sign for far less than Colon is getting. Why would anybody trade for him then?
Please Sandy, just do something. If the Mets fail, fine. At least you tried. But doing nothing just guarantees a second half of the usual boredom and futility.