As I stated before, these are devastating losses to a team that was a favorite to contend for the World Series this season. Say what you want about this team, but do not criticize them this season if they do not make the playoffs, because it can easily be argued that no other team could stay above water with injuries of this magnitude.
Consider the Phillies without Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Brett Myers (who they actually did lose), Ryan Madson, Carlos Ruiz, and Jayson Werth.
Consider the Cubs without Derek Lee, Aramis Ramirez (who is actually hurt as well), Ryan Theriot, Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Dempster, and Carlos Marmol.
Consider the Yankees without A-Rod, Mark Teixeira, Hideki Matsui, Melky Cabrera, and Joba Chamberlain.
Consider the Red Sox without Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Bay, Justin Masterson, and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Consider the Dodgers without Matt Kemp, Orlando Hudson, James Loney, Randy Wolf, and Rafael Furcal.
Consider the Cardinals without Albert Pujols.
Okay, that last one was a joke. But seriously, many of the top teams in baseball would not be able to survive such devastating blows to their lineup, rotation, and bullpen. It's amazing (no pun intended) the Mets are still above .500.
So, where should the Mets go from here? Well, with no timetable on either Delgado or Reyes' return, and no viable options in the minor leagues that are MLB-ready, many people point to the trade market. Indeed, there are options available via the old switch-a-roo, but what would they cost?
With other teams knowing the Mets' situation, Omar Minaya is at a huge disadvantage here. If the other teams know what cards you're holding, it's incredibly hard to bluff. Let's get this straight right now: do not expect Minaya to pull off another trade like he did to acquire Johan Santana or J.J. Putz (all injuries aside).
What would a Jhonny Peralta, a Mark Derosa, or a Jack Wilson cost the Mets? Probably more than what Omar is willing to give up since he knows how bottom-heavy his farm system is right now anyway. Solution? Pick your poison.
Either trade away decent prospects for a three-month rental and do anything to make the playoffs this season, or take the road less traveled in New York and start thinking more about the upcoming seasons.
Personally, I am more in favor of the second option, but then again, I don't think there is a Mets fan alive that doesn't want to see their team in the postseason this year.
But which makes more sense for the franchise? Sacrificing the next few seasons by trading away young prospects (and further depleting your farm system) in hopes of making a playoff push this season? Or letting the younger players play and gain experience in preparation for years to come?
My answer? Go with the young kids, and only make a trade if it doesn't cost too much and doesn't involve the Mets bringing in another old player with a big contract.
Keep Fernando Martinez in the big leagues, and let him play every day in right field while Ryan Church and Gary Sheffield share duties in left field for the remainder of the season.
Call up Jon Niese and/or Dillon Gee (when he is healthy), and let them finish the season in the major leagues and gain the experience and knowledge available from the big league staff.
Then move Tim Redding to the bullpen (or offer him in a trade) to allow Stokes and Takahashi to slide into more of a middle-relief role in the absence of Putz.
As for the situation at shortstop, the radical in me wants the Mets to call up 19 year-old Ruben Tejada from Double-A Binghamton. In his last ten games, Tejada is hitting .400 with five doubles, seven RBIs, and a home run. Overall, the kid is batting .281 with 11 doubles, 19 RBI, a triple, and a home run in 48 games this season.
Tejada is definitely a candidate to replace Castillo at second base in the near future, so why not give him some experience at the big-league level while they have the chance?
However, the most likely option is for the Mets to move a couple of players in a trade for a rental infielder. Perhaps Brian Schneider could be moved, allowing hitting phenom Josh Thole to be promoted from the B-Mets? If this kid really is the Mets' catcher of the future, let him show everybody what he can do.
It may seem like I am suggesting throwing in the towel, but I'm not. In my opinion, signing more old and overrated has-beens would be the worst thing this club could do. For some reason, the front office thinks if they sacrifice the present in favor of a brighter future, the city will riot.
Mets fans are smarter than this. They know that with no Delgado, no Reyes, no Ollie, no Putz, an aging Sheffield, an aging Castillo, and Murphy hitting .240, the chances of this team bringing a championship trophy to Citi Field are very small.
They realize that the Mets are turning a corner in their franchise history, going from an old and busted team to a much younger, hungrier team.
Continue the youth movement. Don't hamper it with more old players with bad contracts. Let the kids play.