I believe that as we enter the second half of the season, the New York Mets have one person to look to in trying to make the playoffs.
As I have said before, I think that the Mets will run away with the NL East at some point during the second half of this season. No other team in the NL can stack up against the Mets, especially in a series.
The problem with the Mets will be in the playoffs. Even if there were problems during the regular season, the problems will center around one man: Billy Wagner.
We all saw what happend last night during the All-Star game. Billy Wagner came in and gave up the tying run in a game where up to that point, the National League had outplayed the American League.
Mets fans saw nothing new. Ninety-nine percent of Mets fans turned to there friends, family or spouses and said "Oh No, Billy Wagner is going to blow it." These comments were not without thought. In fact, a lot of thought had gone into these words during all of the other blown opportunities this first half.
When your job is to close games, and you can't perform, it is time to move on.
So now, I have pointed the finger at my guy. It's time for my solution, and I can think of a few.
So whenever fans talk about trades, it usually sounds like this: "I would trade Scott Schoenweiss for Matt Holliday and Brian Fuentes."
Basically, fans can't come up with legitimit trades. I'm going to try to find a few trade solutions to fix the closer role.
I think that in order for the Mets to obtain Brian Fuentes from the Rockies, they will need to give up one top-tier prospect.
I don't think they would have to give up Fernando Martinez, but they would have to give up Jon Niese, Mike Carp, or even a guy like Eddie Kunz (who we'll tell you about later).
So solution one is trading any one of these prospects for Brian Fuentes.
My second solution revolves around the guy that I just mentioned: Eddie Kunz. He was the Mets first-round draft pick in 2007 and is a relief pitcher.
He is currently pitching at AA Binghampton and has pitched 41.2 innings while saving 25 games and striking out 35. He has walked a number of batters, but bringing him up to the majors to re-enforce that bullpen couldn't hurt.
Again, this does not help the closers role.
Is it possible that there is an internal solution to the Mets problem at the Major League level?
I think that if you want to look into the possibility, there is no reason that Duaner Sanchez couldn't be your closer. When he is healthy, his numbers have been dazzling.
You could move Billy into either the set-up role or even the specialist role. If you don't even want Billy as the set up guy, then you could move Aaron Heilman into that role once again.
People who are unsure of Heilman should stop worrying. He pitches 800 percent better in the second half of the season.
What will actually happen?
Of course, this is all just what Mets fans hope will happen.
Realistically, I do not believe anything will change and the Mets will continue to throw Billy Wagner out there. What scares me the most is having anything on the line, and then having Jerry Manuel bring in Billy.
A note for all of the Phillies Fans: As much as Mets fans are down on Billy Wagner today, I think that Phillies fans saw a glimpse of the problems they will face in the second half. I have argued with Phillies fans repeatedly about this.
The Phillies cannot make the playoffs with the current roatation and the current bullpen. That is why the division will be far in the distance, and the Mets will be holding the trophy.