Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
The Mets are three games under .500 on June 5, but just four losses back of the first-place Braves and three losses back of the final Wild Card.
In previous seasons, the second Wild Card team typically won at least 89 games. However, with the current state of parity in the National League, and with so many teams hovering around .500, 84 to 87 wins could realistically get a team into the postseason this year.
This type of opportunity does not come around everyday, and rarely comes with warning, Joel Sherman says about the Mets in his most recent column (NY Post, June 5). However, he adds, “when it comes, seize it, capitalize upon it.”
In Sherman’s view, Alderson should not miss this opportunity to be proactive and push for the playoffs, and “ownership needs to stop talking about the money it is willing to spend and open wallets.”
It’s a nice sentiment. I don’t disagree with Sherman. I like what he’s saying in concept, which is, “go for it.” The thing is, I just don’t know what this actually means, in reality, here on June 4.
In time, I expect to hear rumors connecting the Mets to players on the Dodgers, Rays, Arizona and Oakland. These teams have outfielders and middle infielders that fit well with what the Mets are trying to do (long- and short-term). Of course, these teams are going to want some combination of Noah Syndegraard, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero, Kevin Plawecki and Travis d’Arnaud, among others.
I would love to see the Mets shock everyone and get to October. However, the last thing I want to see is a repeat of 2004, when — just six games back of the NL East-leading Braves — the Mets traded several prospects to better compete down the stretch, only to fall short of the playoffs and regret the deals they made.
My point is this: Banging fists on desks, typing on a keyboard and demanding improvements is a lot easier than actually getting a team to deal a good, impactful player in early June, especially in a league where the playoff door is wide open to almost everyone. I mean, as a barely-.500 team, if the Mets can be proactive and improve by trade, it stands to reason a lot of other teams probably feel they can do the same. It’s going to be a difficult market to manipulate. I agree this is a golden opportunity to create a genuine playoff run, I just think that’s easier said than done.
In the end, I’m probably gun shy, timid and hesitant to make a deal that, if it works will be great, but if it doesn’t, it resets the last few years of pain and sets the franchise back – for nothing. I don’t envy Alderson’s position. But, he was hired to be ‘the adult in the room,’ and it’s time to make some big-boy decisions.