Stay the course: The Mets should not be fooled by their recent hot streak

Sometimes, it seems like self-awareness is the most important attribute an MLB General Manager can have. When the trading deadline arrives, as it will in four days, you have to cast a cold eye at the team in front of you and make decisions based on business and where you are in the standings. You can’t look at things and say, “Um… well, we might be in it. We’ve been playing so well lately, I think there’s a run in us.” Ask Jim Duquette about that kind of thinking. In 2004, his lone year as Mets GM, the team reached the deadline 49-54, eight games behind the NL East leading Atlanta Braves, eight-and-a-half behind the Wild Card leading San Diego Padres. They had just come off a surprising spurt, though. In the wake of acquiring former Houston slugger Richard Hidalgo in mid-June, the Mets had climbed to the dizzying heights of three games over .500 on July 9. The fact that they went 5-13 after that seemed lost on the front office and they swung into action believing they were “in it.” As we know, that thinking cost them the services of prized rookie pitcher Scott Kazmir, turned Ty Wigginton into a thorn in their side and left us with Kris Benson and his lovely wife.

No, these 2017 Mets are not nearly “in it.” Sure, they’ve finally started to fire, winning six of their last eight. As many will be quick to point out, this hot streak has come at the expense of two of the weaker sisters in baseball, the Oakland A’s and the Padres. No matter: a win is a win and nobody is giving any of them back. It’s nice to get that old feeling back, true, but that’s all it is, a feeling. If you take that cold-eyed look at this team, you’ll see that these wins are nothing more than a pleasant diversion. Two-thirds of this vaunted starting staff is still on the shelf, with no sign of return on the horizon. The closer is in the same situation. The big slugger can’t seem to go more than five consecutive games without “tweaking” or “fatiguing” his taut hamstrings. The defense is rickety, the bullpen inconsistent.

Sandy Alderson, of course, knows all this. Now it’s his job to get maximum value out of the players he has left. There are a couple of players – Asdrubal Cabrera and Lucas Duda come to mind – who will need to be moved to make way for the future. There are a couple – Addison Reed and Rene Rivera – who could genuinely help push a contender over the top. Jay Bruce could also be in that category, but whatever interest was there from other clubs has seemed to cool considerably. Now, it’s unlikely that any of these guys is going to bring in the haul that, say, Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller fetched a year ago, but Alderson still has to gauge their value to the Mets vs. their value on the market. He is not one to get snookered in a deal so easily, and he has a reputation for holding out until the last possible second to get a favorable trade done. And who knows? Alderson may just come up with prize package for these guys.

He’s surprised us before.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.

9 comments for “Stay the course: The Mets should not be fooled by their recent hot streak

  1. Chris F
    July 27, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I completely agree.

  2. Metsense
    July 27, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Duda and Cabrera should be traded by the deadline in order to get Rosario and Smith in the lineup to get some experience before 2018. To some extent, Rivera should also go so that they can take a final look at Plawecki as a back up. Those three players are blocking three players that ‘could be” in the 2018 plans.Trading those three players will not cripple the 2017 team.That is the minimum that should be done by Monday without any regard to the value coming back. Addition by subtraction.
    Reed, Bruce, Walker and Blevins should be able to bring back some young talent or the Mets should not even bother before the deadline. Don’t give they away. These players can be waiver dealt by August 31st if things remain bleak and a Byrd/ D. Herrera deal may present itself from a desperate team on the cusp.

    • Chris F
      July 27, 2017 at 9:04 am

      I agree. This only thing is I cant connect with crippling of the 2017 season. This season is already crippled. I cant understand any reason to care about the record at this point. A miracle will get them to .500, and if it does, so what? Wholly unforgettable.

      I maintain of a 30 team league, the absolute worst place to finish is between 11-20. The top 10 go to the post season, the bottom 10 draft better and the middle 10 waste in baseball purgatory, unable to do much of anything. Its like finishing with a record who’s color is beige.

  3. Metsense
    July 27, 2017 at 11:09 am

    If there is no value back in these players then they should not be traded for the sake of tanking. There are no guarantees in the draft, Phillip Humber (3), Geoff Goetz (3) and Kirk Presley (8) are three sub ten picks.
    I pay my hard earned money to see a game and for my MLB TV subscription. I would get no entertainment from a team deliberately tanking and may even abandon them.

    • Jimmy P
      July 27, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Yes, and just look at all those angry Astros and Cubs fans.

    • Chris F
      July 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

      Im not saying tanking. Im saying now is the time to see if youth can make it at the big leagues.

      In any case, the Astros and Cubs and Indians went to the bottom and came out sustained for the long term. We went through a rebuild and instead of playing kids we saw a lot of Bobby Abreu and Marlon Byrd under the wildly misguided belief the Mets were “in it”.

      Alderson 5 years in and a rebuild has a weak team and a weak farm system. That aint right.

      And I have news for you, the games we after night after night arent much fun now with this class of vets we presently have out there!!!!!!

  4. Pete In Iowa
    July 27, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Seems to me — given the players to deal we are talking about here — the only way to get anything of value in return will be to package them in some way to one team.
    Would anyone bite say, on a package which includes Bruce, Reed and Duda, for example?
    I think it is very, very doubtful any team out there would do it, but if we think we can get anything in return for these guys, that’s about the only scenario I see which can accomplish a decent return.
    Given where the team is currently — nowheresville — we should cut these guys loose. Maybe we’ll hit the lottery with a low prospect or two.

  5. TexasGusCC
    July 27, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I know that I need to brace myself for the hissing that will follow this question, but is Alderson helping his trade cause by waiting for the other suitors to blink first?

    I would think those teams looking for help must know that he must make trades and telling them that he will just hang onto players, especially as other teams constantly fill needs elsewhere, must make for a pretty good laugh from his fellow GM’s. Just wondering…

  6. MattyMets
    July 27, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    The Duda trade is a good start. The kid we got could make a nice bullpen addition next year and we cleared he way for Dominic Smith. I’ll miss Duda as a fan, but baseball is a tough business.

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