I think it’s safe to say the Dog Days have arrived – that all-too-familiar time when one day runs into the next and it seems like no one has any energy. People get edgier this time of year, tempers shorten and frustration lengthens. If you’re a fan of the Mets, the Dog Days started just before the All-Star Game. Talk about being edgy and frustrated…

The Mets have returned from the break in full nose-dive, posting a putrid 1-9 record. Remember “The Magic Is Back?” Right now, the Magic Is Tragic. Not only have they lost nine-of-ten, four of the losses came with an added kick in the lungs: bullpen implosions that rendered hard-fought leads or ties completely irrelevant. The past two games, in particular, have brought a fresh vision of hell to the fast-dwindling fan base: in both games, the Mets rallied hard to tie and send the contests into extra-innings, only to have each game turn into a five-plus run loss. I won’t even mention the loss last Tuesday night (7/17) that caused me to wake up at 3:00 AM with my teeth grinding and sweat on my brow. It’s gotten to that point where a friend’s father made the suggestion that if the Mets go to extra-innings again, they should just concede. If Ring Lardner had written this, it would appear too far-fetched, even for that florid, hyperbolic time. This franchise had turned losing into a particular art form, almost worthy of a sequel to Jimmy Breslin’s famous question, “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?”

The quick answer is that the bullpen stinks. This is true, but the real truth is there is plenty of blame to go around. David Wright and possibly Daniel Murphy excepted, no one on the offensive side is having a banner year. The promise of the first half of the year – that two-out fairy dust which permeated every contest and led to a belief that this train would just keep-a-rollin’ – has faded to a pallor of runners stranded on second and one-run deficits. The defense is keeping up that time-honored orange and blue tradition of committing the error at just the right time. It all seems to snowball, of course – whatever the reality. The team doesn’t play well, there isn’t an easy solution in the minor leagues, the team sinks in the quicksand that is sub-.500, the cry goes up for the front office to DO! SOMETHING! ANYTHING! and when SOMETHING! ANYTHING! isn’t done, it appears the ownership only cares about saving money rather than winning, attendance dwindles, the grumbling across all social media gets louder, and Snooki gets booed – OK, maybe that last one was a bad example.

The fact is, something does need to happen, but I don’t know what. In light of the Yankees making another one of their patented gluttonous late-season moves – they needed Ichiro Suzuki like an Eskimo needs Bermuda shorts – the Mets will probably go wanting once again. As the trade deadline approaches, it appears foolish for the Mets to be “buyers.” What would they be buying for? They’re further out of a playoff spot right now than when they made odious, infamous Kazmir-for-Zambrano deal. To reach the 88 wins it will take to capture one of the Wild Cards, the Mets would have to go 41-25 from this point. Whoever would be available on the trade market would not be that kind of a difference-maker. So a shopping spree would appear to be out.

Conversely, it’s pretty hard to be a “seller” when you have nothing to sell. The most marketable players on the team are Wright and R.A. Dickey, neither of whom is going anywhere. Johan Santana might have been sought-after, but he’s on the DL half-a-year after returning from major shoulder surgery. The return for players like Scott Hairston or Tim Byrdak or Murphy would hardly be worth the trouble of putting a deal together. The future will not be mortgaged, so the kids all stay in the picture.

So for all the appearance of Sandy Alderson sitting on his hands, that really might be the best he can do. Juxtaposed against the young, division-leading Nationals who are in town at the moment, the talent gap may as well be the Grand Canyon. Someone on Twitter last night was preaching patience for the frustrated Met fan, citing the slow-build approach of the Nats. The difference is, the Nats have Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Drew Storen and Ian Desmond. They are all young, immensely talented and under team control for the foreseeable future.

The Mets have David Wright.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

6 comments on “The 2012 Mets: Something’s Got To Give

  • Name

    Remember in June when the Angels were floundering and their bullpen was in shambles? Well, they acted quickly and picked up Frieri from the Padres… and look at that bullpen now.

    The bullpen was an area of need from at least late April, but with the team winning, fans were willing to overlook it. Now that we are losing like crazy, fans are screaming for change. Sometimes when a player is brought it, everyone is able to settle down in a “spot” and are able to thrive. Right now, we don’t know which player is going to come in at any time, and the lack of defined roles could be hurting the team.

    • Metsense

      Name, you hit the nail on the head. Nice example. Brian, I agree, the door is closed and Duda is in the minors, hopefully playing left field. Finally, since the Mets
      insist on playing Bay over Hairston then see what you can get for Scott. Bay should not be on the 40 man roster this winter.

  • Brian Joura

    Agree with Name.

    The window for the Mets to pull a deal for the 2012 season has closed. Right now we have to hope for Davis, Duda and Murphy to have strong second halves and hopefully bolster their trade values in the offseason.

  • Mike Koehler

    Disheartening really isn’t the right word for their post all-star break play, but lets go with that for now. This atmosphere and losing streak really paint the team in a bleak picture. But, using your imagination, what would have happened if Terry had one or two more solid relief pitchers in the past two weeks? What if we had a better right-handed catcher?

    I truly believe there is still time to salvage a playoff run, but they need to take action immediately and I’m not sure that’s going to happen with Sandy fiddling while Rome burns. Heck, even dropping Bay or trading him for a small return may give these guys some motivation.

    I definitely would not advocate a fire sale, nor would I ship off star players (Wright, Dickey and Santana for sure) unless we got superstars and prospects in return. If the front office is going to concede the season – and they should be honest and up front with the fans if they do – I can see trading Hairston and some of the other role players. I’m not a big proponent of moving Murphy for the sake of moving him, but maybe in the right deal.

  • steevy

    The Nats made something out of their very high draft picks.They were dfortunate enough to have the top pick when Bryce Harper was available.Strasburg too.I’m not very impressed with Desmond and his awful OBP.

  • steevy

    I rather have Rob Johnson than Nickeas.I see no pisitives from Mike Nickeas.

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