At the All-Star break, the New York Mets were just 4.5 games out of first place in the tough NL East.
Now, the Mets are 11.5 games out of first place and obviously falling apart.
New York seemed poised to make a major move and acquire a big arm or a reliever at the trade deadline, and they still might. However, rentals are out of the question, and it looks like the Mets won't make any big moves.
Eight days ago, ESPN.com's Adam Rubin reported that the Mets were looking at and had interest in Royals closer Jonathan Broxton. Broxton has rebounded from a poor 2011 campaign by recording 23 saves and posting a 2.27 ERA.
Broxton doesn't strike out many batters, but he knows how to force weak contact. He has allowed just one home run in almost 36 innings pitched, and he knows how to get out of jams. Broxton may have a 1.40 WHIP, but he is comfortable pitching under pressure and could help solve the Mets' bullpen woes.
New York's offense has been stellar, thanks to David Wright. The star third baseman has 15 homers, 67 RBI and a .340 batting average. Wright's patience at the plate has been instrumental to his success, as his OBP has hovered around .435 for a long time.
The Mets lead the league in two-out RBI, thanks to some clutch and timely hitting. Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy are both hitting above .300, Andres Torres is getting on base, Kirk Nieuwenhuis has provided a spark to the offense and Ike Davis is heating up. If the Mets want to get a bat, they will have to unload their farm system (which is something they aren't interested in doing).
Therefore, it looks like the Mets won't trade for a bat, and that the only thing they will do is trade for a relief pitcher.
New York has a terrible and very unreliable bullpen with a combined ERA above 5. The Mets need to upgrade it, even if they just trade for one average reliever. Huston Street may be available, but it will take a lot to get him. The Mets will probably have to part with one of their top pitching prospects if they want to acquire Street.
Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, the Mets' two top pitching prospects, have been deemed off-limits. Both strike out tons of hitters and have the potential to become aces, and the Mets don't want to let either get away from them. If a team asks for Wheeler or Harvey in return for a reliever, the Mets won't do the trade.
Chris Perez of the Indians could be available, but since he has converted 28 of his 30 save opportunities, he will come at a high price. Seattle may give up Brandon League, their closer, but he may also come at a high price.
The Mets won't sell, but GM Sandy Alderson knows that unless the price is right and he doesn't have to give up his top prospects, there's no point in making a deal. Lots of relievers are on the market, and the Mets will probably trade for one.
However, since they are far out of first place now, don't expect the Mets to make any major moves. If they do ultimately make a move though, expect it to be minor.