We are just a shade past the 62-game mark in this 2016 season, which means there are still 99 left to play. 99 games over the next, roughly, 110 days. The Mets right now find themselves five games behind the NL East leading Washington Nationals. While many would say it’s a little early to be a standings-gawker, this could be a critical time in the Mets’ season. Between today and July 10, they have one game remaining with the Pittsburgh Pirates, seven against the lowly Atlanta Braves, two at home vs. the inconsistent — and unspeakable — Kansas City Royals, four at home against the all-conquering Chicago Cubs, three vs. the Miami Marlins and seven with those very Nationals. That’s 24 games leading right up to the All-Star break which could determine the Mets’ fate for the final two-and-a-half months. They’d better start hitting.
Speculation has been rife as to how to go about accomplishing that feat. We all remember last year, when the offense stumbled through June and July, with seemingly no hope of resolution. GM Sandy Alderson swung into action and at first, it looked like nothing more than PR-driven wheel-spinning – action for its own sake, with little real hope of a satisfactory upgrade. But then a Cespedes rose from the mid-west. Alderson was able to expend some closely guarded resources to pry Yoenis Cespedes away from the Detroit Tigers. All Cespedes did was clobber every pitch in sight for the following two months and aid the stellar pitching staff in a glorious post-season run. Surely, Alderson could pull this off again, right? I wouldn’t count on it. To get Cespedes last year, the Mets gave up pitcher Michael Fulmer. Fulmer is currently lighting up the American League and the leading candidate for Rookie of the Year. Truly, that was a trade that helped both clubs, it’s safe to say. The problem is, the Mets are all out of Fulmers. Fans chirp to make a deal, but what kind of deal would you be able to make? Shop the rehabbing Zack Wheeler for pennies on the dollar? The farm system is looking on the dry side at the moment, so that avenue might be closed. In the face of all this, there are some fans who are waxing nostalgic.
The Colorado Rockies designated our old friend Jose Reyes for assignment yesterday. For a vet like Reyes, that usually spells the end of a career. We watched – sadly – Reyes’s skills desert him right before our eyes. When he was young, he was a vibrant, electrifying shortstop – *TMEPIB, remember? He was the catalyst for whatever kind of success the Mets had had between 2003 and 2011. Yes, David Wright was the Captain, even without title, the heart and soul of the great 2005 – 2008 clubs, but Reyes was the motor. After a bitter parting at the start of 2012, we watched Reyes in exile, his skills slowly, but most definitely eroding in the heat of Miami and under the Toronto semi-dome. He is following a classic pattern of a player that is so reliant on his legs: when they start to go, there doesn’t seem to be much else left. And that’s just about the on-the-field stuff.
The Mets have already come out and said that a reunion will not be in the offing. In the wake of Reyes’s diminished abilities and his troubles with the law in the domestic abuse area, one would think most teams would shy away. The Mets’ organization is loathe to take on players that might carry some baggage. Reyes would appear to be toting a steamer trunk and by the time he repairs his reputation, he’ll be past the point of being physically able to perform at the level to which we became accustomed. Those are some of the saddest words I’ve ever had to type, but you can’t ignore the facts. Reyes looks to be done and the Mets must look elsewhere to improve the offense.
The question is, where?
*The Most Exciting Player In Baseball
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