The New York Mets had a great first half, but in the second half, they have struggled.
Atlanta swept the Mets with 7-5, 8-7 and 6-1 wins. Johan Santana, Chris Young and R.A Dickey were all lit up by Atlanta's offense, and David Wright didn't get a hit in his last ten at-bats, lowering his batting average from .355 to .345.
And Ben Sheets, who hadn't pitched in about two years, shut out the Mets in six innings, allowing just two hits.
Andres Torres went 6-for-10 during the series, raising his batting average from .201 to .223. Ruben Tejada continued his dominance by going 5-for-14. However, other than that, there were no bright spots in a dark series for the Mets.
New York is 6.5 games back of the first-place Nationals and three games back of the Braves. If GM Sandy Alderson decides that the team doesn't have enough talent to contend, he could possibly trade David Wright to bring in top prospects.
Or, he could try to acquire another big name.
Justin Upton, Huston Street, Cole Hamels, Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke and Josh Willingham are among the big names who will likely be available at the trade deadline. New York needs help in the outfield, and they could trade for Upton or Willingham.
However, it would take a lot.
Willingham's contract runs until 2014, and he has been great this year. He is hitting .268 with 22 homers and 65 RBI, and he would probably hit right after David Wright in the Mets' batting order.
The addition of Willingham would definitely help New York's offense since he has power and patience. Willingham can hit any pitch out of the park, and he can also lay off any pitch. Willingham has been walked 45 times this season.
More importantly, it would take a lot of pressure off of David Wright.
The Mets rank in the top half of the MLB in offense, but only because of a lot of luck. New York has benefited from a lot of two-out RBI this year (more than anyone in the league). That won't happen in the second half. The Mets will have a terrible offense if they don't trade for a major bat.
And, as we know, you can't win with the worst bullpen in the majors and a terrible offense.
New York has an above-average farm system, and even though star pitchers Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler are untouchable, the Mets have plenty of prospects they can trade. Third baseman Wilmer Flores could be on the move, since he is a third baseman who would back up David Wright.
The Mets can definitely find what it takes to make some big trades, so they need to make some. Upton and Willingham are the big bats on the market, and since they play in the outfield (and the Mets need outfielders), both would be very useful to the Mets.
There are also pitchers that could be useful to the team.
Jonathan Broxton and Huston Street headline a list of relievers that could be on the trade market.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS, Street would patch up all issues with bench coach Bob Geren (from when they were together in Oakland) if he was traded to the Mets, and that he would be fine with a trade to the Mets.
However, more importantly, the Mets could target Street, Brett Myers, Jonathan Broxton, Brandon Lyon or another reliever.
Should the Mets Target a Big Name at the Trade Deadline?
New York has the worst bullpen ERA in the MLB, and they need to upgrade their bullpen. Huston Street has a 1.08 ERA and has converted all 14 of his save opportunities, but he would come at a high price.
If the Mets wanted to land a hitter and a reliever, they would have to target Willingham, who won't come at a very high price, and someone like Broxton, who has a 2.14 ERA.
No matter what happens in the next two weeks, the Mets need to go after a big name, and not a rental.
Upton and Willingham are both long-term solutions, and they would both fill areas of need. It would definitely be worth it for the Mets to unload the farm to trade for a dominant hitter and a good reliever, as long as they aren't rentals.
The Mets really do have a shot at making the playoffs. And, if they pick up players with a few years left on their contracts, they will contend for years to come.