“Walk right side? Safe. Walk left side? Safe. Walk down middle? Squish, like grape.” – Mr. Miyagi to Daniel-san in the original KARATE KID

So they’ve hit a season’s high in terms of winning percentage, climbing the dizzying heights of three games over .500. So they’ve taken a second step on the way to what could be considered a successful season. So they’ve proven they can beat up on their far weaker NL doppelganger – and Wilponic innamorata – the Los Angeles Dodgers. So they’ve won four in a row without the services of TMEPIB, Jose Reyes – who will either be headed to the disabled list or to Phoenix for the All-Star game: nobody’s sure which. They’ve clinched a series win over the Dodgers, and could secure a winning West Coast road trip – and when’s the last time THAT happened? — if the sweep is completed tonight (7/7).

Now what?

General Manager Sandy Alderson is in the unenviable position of being right in the middle of a season, the success of which could be determined by the moves he makes – or doesn’t make – in the next four-to-six weeks. Kind of apropos that that’s the time frame: we Met fans are more familiar with those words than most. That’s the “standard” timetable the team has historically fed the MSM as a recovery time from an injury. Any injury. From a hangnail to a fractured femur. First thing you hear – after the dreaded “day-to-day” – is “out four-to-six weeks.” Sandy Alderson is walking a fine tightrope. He has three options, in the opinion of your intrepid columnist, none of which is a fail-safe option and all of which come with their own set of trapdoors.

Does he try to swing a big trade as a “buyer” and risk chasing a season which retrospect may tell us was a pipe dream? Look no further back than 2004, when Scott Kazmir was dispatched under the short-sighted notion that the Mets were “in it” at seven-and-a-half games back in the Wild Card race. The Mets’ farm system is JUST beginning to show stirrings of becoming a strong one once again. Now is not the time to eviscerate it.

Does he operate in “seller” mode and bail on a season which has started out so surprising and satisfying and risk further alienating a fan base which is already feeling disenfranchised? If you need an object lesson on this scenario, check out how empty Dodger Stadium has been this week. A park which was sold-out on a nightly basis has been reduced to playing host to between 5,000 and 15,000 on a given night. Remember, this was the first franchise to break the three-million attendance mark. They may not do that in the next three years combined. Sandy has got to be taking a look around and envisioning a similar picture three thousand miles east.

Does he simply stand pat and wait for the walking wounded to be right again and risk ridicule for sitting on his hands while rival teams trade their way into contention? In the eyes of the fans, this non-move would put him right up there with Omar Minaya as a dart-board model. Most fans want their GM to DO SOMETHING if they’re on the cusp of contention. They want their team improved on for the stretch run, if there is to be one. As noted, Omar did nothing down the stretches of the infamous 2008 – 2010 and…well, we know what the results were.

There is a Chinese blessing – though some, like me, consider it a curse – which wishes the recipient, “May you live in interesting times.” For Sandy Alderson and the Mets, 2011 is pretty interesting.

3 comments on “Where Do the Mets Go From Here?

  • Brian Joura

    The Mets are most likely not going to be buyers. Even if they were — what would they buy? Are you going to send Pelfrey to the bullpen after he just threw 6 shutout innings? It would feel heartless to send Gee out of the rotation after what he did for the team for two months and the other three guys are pitching well, health permitting. The relievers seem ok and there’s not any obvious weak points in the starting lineup.

    To me, it’s sell or stand pat. The team is playing well right now, so why sell today? This could change in three weeks but currently the right move seems to stand pat.

  • Metsense

    Why not trade, not as a seller or a buyer but to improve the team now and in the future. The team strength is the offense and it will only get better when all parts are healthy. Bay is the weaklink and even he is coming around. So that leaves us with the pitching. The Mets need to get a #1 or #2 starter and a more affordable 2012 closer. If a Beltran (after Wright gets back)with a starter not named Niese could accomplish this then I would get on board. The closer situation is much more complicated and difficult to analyse.The Mets need to be creative and prudent in this process and I hope this July they do trade to imrove the team.

  • Brian Joura

    The problem I see with this scenario is that this is typically not the type of deal done in July. Most trades that take place at this point are done by teams jockeying for the playoffs trading for stars from teams that are out of the race.

    Why would a team trade a #1 or #2 SP and only get Niese back in return for the long run, as Beltran is gone after this season? If Beltran is traded, it will be to a contender that can use his bat for a playoff push in 2011.

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