This season has not gone how fans, management, or players have envisioned. Injuries and lackluster play have severely limited the Mets chances to make the playoffs. Fans questioned moves made before the season even started. It seems Omar Minaya was limited in the winter, but that is another story.
Although it’s likely for some key players to return, it is doubtful that they will step on to the scene and be amazing from the get go. With the Phillies looking to trade for Doc Halladay, a division crown looks less likely with every Mets loss.
Don’t forget that the Mets are also currently seven games out of the wild card with seven teams ahead of them.
So what is there to look forward to, if anything? Here are some story lines that *should* happen during the second half of the season, besides those injury reports.
1. Jon Niese replaces Livan Hernandez in the rotation.
Livan Hernandez could be some post-deadline trade bait for a team on the cusp of the playoffs while Jon Niese has been tearing up AAA lately. In his last seven starts, he has given up two or less runs in all of them, while going at least six innings in each. He’s posted good strikeout numbers as well. He is certainly in a groove. When is a better time to give the young lefty a shot than now?
2. Can Bobby Parnell rebound?
The flame throwing righty started off great in 2009, posting an ERA under 2.00 for much of the early season. However, it seemed he was a bit lucky as he had given up many hits and walks, yet stranded most of his runners.
Now that the league has caught up with him, it is his turn to change his approach. Many in the Mets organization see him as a pivotal 8th inning set up man, and the rest of 2009 should be used to see if he can be that guy.
3. Bring up Eddie Kunz.
His numbers may not be spectacular in AAA (3.96 ERA, 24 walks, 26 strikeouts in 38.2 innings), but is it time to throw him into the fire? He was brought up last year, and to not give him another shot at the big leagues could hurt his confidence. Give the first rounder another shot in 2009, Omar. He can’t be worse than Elmer Dessens.
4. Play Daniel Murphy everyday.
Right now, his value is at it’s lowest it’s been in the last year. We can see what he can do as a bench player, and it isn’t much. If he isn’t going to mash 25 homers, he won’t stick at first base.
However, the Mets should be playing him everyday to gauge his value. Is he the hitter he was in 2008 or is he the player he is now, struggling to get into a groove? Throw him at first base everyday until Carlos Delgado returns to the lineup.
Maybe he can increase his trade value, allowing a team to jump all over him. There’s no point of him platooning with Fernando “Double Play” Tatis.
5. If possible, trade off pieces not a part of 2010.
This means you, J.J. Putz, Livan Hernandez, Fernando Nieve, and Billy Wagner. Get as many prospects as you can for these guys. Putz? Why would the Mets pick up his option? The only way is if they can move him once they do. I don’t see him apart of the 2010 Mets. Maybe it would be wise to hold on to him for a bit.
Livan should be as good as gone. Get anything you can for the guy Omar signed to a minor league contract. That would be fantastic. Fernando Nieve? His value is pretty high at the moment.
Wagner is gone after this season, but his contract is interesting to say the least. In this economy, would he accept arbitration knowing that would not be the closer? Would the Mets want the low-adrenaline, eighth inning Billy Wagner? I doubt it. He wants a closing gig but the $10M he could get from the Mets is very tempting.
Trade him after the deadline (if you can) for prospects. I’m not talking about big prospects, but anything is better than nothing. At least get a shortstop that can fill in better than Ramon Martinez.
6. Finish in the bottom 15.
With all the money coming off the books this off-season (Delgado, Schneider, Wagner), Omar and Co. won’t just be window shopping this winter. This means they will be looking at Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Orlando Hudson, John Lackey, and possibly Erik Bedard.
What will these guys cost (besides money)?
A first round draft pick, that is, unless the Mets finish within the bottom fifteen. Then they would lose their second rounder. The Mets go out and get a big guy every off-season, and this one will be no different.
However, with the way they have been stinking, they will be able to keep their first rounder. Right now, they own the 10th worst record in baseball. So far, so good.
This may not be something Mets fans want to read, but it is realistic. The team’s chances of making the playoffs right now is 4.1 percent according to Cool Standings. There is still some time left in the season, but trading away possible future pieces like Niese, Holt, Thole, Flores, or Mejia is not the answer.
Would Mark DeRosa really have been the answer? Come on, the answer is a big N-O. Would Roy Halladay help? Of course, but he isn’t worth the price tag.
Matt Holliday is at a low value right now, but would any of you really want to see Omar deal with Billy Beane? Don’t forget that MH will be a free agent this winter. I’m not saying it is time to throw in the towel, but it may be time to be realistic.