Roughly a week prior to the All-Star break, in reference to the Mets’ dismal offense I wrote Michael Cuddyer should be placed on the disabled list and GM Sandy Alderson consider promoting outfielder Michael Conforto.
ALDERSON: Time is ticking away. (AP)
As the Mets prepared for their fifth game in what they said is a critical point to their season, Cuddyer was out of the lineup against Washington and Conforto remains in the minor leagues. However, Cuddyer appeared in Tuesday’s game as a pinch runner, which is a gamble because if he is disabled, the Mets would have to back-date it to tonight.
The players most linked to the Mets are San Diego’s Justin Upton and Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez – whom the Mets traded in the Johan Santana deal – and Gerardo Parra.
Of course, there’s a difference between mulling and doing something.
Upton could be a rental, with Gomez more costly because he’s not a free agent after this season. Getting Gomez might mean losing Juan Lagares, which shouldn’t be a problem. Several days ago I wrote Lagares wasn’t panning out, so losing him is no big deal to me. He’s certainly not a deal breaker. After all, in five or six years they could trade for him back.
As the July 31 trade deadline approaches, Alderson – the game’s smartest general manager, according to his biography – should be coming to the realization the asking price for a hitter is escalating, simply because teams know the Mets are desperate. The Mets have no leverage in trade talks because they have too many rigid parameters. Alderson has a long list of untouchables; is not willing to give up any top prospects; and has budget restraints.
Basically, he wants something for nothing.
Alderson made it clear he won’t deal from the group of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Jon Niese stepped it up in the wake of the Matz injury, Harvey’s slump and Bartolo Colon‘s collapse.
Teams have no interest in Colon or Dillon Gee, and frankly because Niese is pitching well I would be reluctant to give him away for a rental. I wouldn’t mind Upton, but would want to discuss an extension first. If that could be worked out, I would include Niese.
But, would I give up NIese for a two-month rental? I don’t think so.
Meanwhile, the Mets’ offense remains dismal. They are 2-3 coming out of the break and tonight was the first time they scored as many as five runs in that span. Of the 16 games they’ve played this month, they scored as many as five runs only three times.
On June 16, Harvey beat the Blue Jays and the Mets’ record rose to 36-30. After that game, the Mets lost their next seven and only once scored as many as five runs over the next 12 games.
That’s when I started souring on their chances because they lost all their goodwill from their 11-game winning streak in April and did nothing to improve their offense. Getting back Kirk Nieuwenhuis doesn’t count.
Travis d’Arnaud started swinging a bat, but is he really the answer? He wasn’t exactly carrying the team when he was injured. Alderson has also done nothing to address David Wright‘s absence, and we all know he’s not coming back soon, if at all this year. By the time we see Wright it might be too late.
Hell, it’s probably too late now to do anything of substance. Whatever leverage the Mets might have had in the trade market is gone, so Alderson will simply do nothing and say the price if too high. And, not bringing in salary will make the Wilpons happy. And, of course, if the Mets go into a free-fall, manager Terry Collins will pay the price.
See how that works? Yet another season is about to go into the archives. That’s shameful because as bad as the Mets have played, they are still over .500 and in the hunt.
If I was a lifelong Mets fan as many of you are – remember, I grew up in Ohio, where I didn’t root for the Yankees – I would be angry.
Too many times the Mets asked for, and were given patience, by their fan base. They asked you to wait while Harvey was on the DL last year and pointed to 2015. Well, 2015 has come and is close to being gone. Tonight was fun to watch, but there remains the possibility the interlocking NY on their caps could again stand for “next year.”