Johan Santana and 5 Players the Mets Need to Be in the Playoff Race in September

Chris RinaldiContributor IIIMay 23, 2011

Johan Santana and 5 Players the Mets Need to Be in the Playoff Race in September

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    This is the last image of the Mets in the Playoffs.  The organization and its fans need something new to remember.
    This is the last image of the Mets in the Playoffs. The organization and its fans need something new to remember.Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Mets are not as talented as the Phillies and the Braves, but that doesn't mean the NL East is out of their reach.  Look at the Florida Marlins, the Mets are arguably more talented than they are. 

    What the Mets need to do to compete is easy.  First, they need to get healthy, and second, they need to fulfill their potential.  Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes have both been healthy and productive this season. Additionally, Justin Turner and Daniel Murphy have contributed as productive players.

    But, the following players are needed for the Mets to continue to improve throughout the season and to erase their last playoff memory: Carlos Beltran staring at that Adam Wainwright hook.

Ike Davis

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    Maybe it's too much too soon, but Ike Davis has quickly developed into the centerpiece of the New York Mets lineup.
    Maybe it's too much too soon, but Ike Davis has quickly developed into the centerpiece of the New York Mets lineup.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Mets need Ike Davis back, terribly.  A patient hitter like Davis is what their lineup is missing.  He is also the only bat in the Mets lineup that contains the pure power needed at Citi Field (meaning Davis would hit the same amount of home runs in any park he played in).

    On top of that, Davis is a pretty good first-baseman.  You have to tip your hat to Daniel Murphy, who gives it his all defensively no matter what position he's assigned,  but he's a significant downgrade from Davis. Many players are.

    Speaking of Murphy, Davis allows Collins to use a righty/lefty platoon of Murphy and Justin Turner at 2B, which really solidifies the Mets' lineup.

Angel in the Outfield

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    Angel Pagan was a surprise last season.  The Mets just need his tools on the field this season.
    Angel Pagan was a surprise last season. The Mets just need his tools on the field this season.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Have we forgotten about Angel Pagan? Between his slow start and extended DL stint, Pagan has been an afterthought in New York.  

    With that said, the Mets need Pagan to resemble something like 2010's Angel Pagan if they are to work their way back into the playoff race.  Jason Pridie has been good, but Jason Pridie in center field is a one-way trip to scrapping with the Nationals for 4th place.

David Wright and the Time Machine

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    David Wright hitting at Shea Stadium in 2008. The Good Old Days.
    David Wright hitting at Shea Stadium in 2008. The Good Old Days.Al Bello/Getty Images

    They need David Wright back.  And not just back on the field, but back to the way he was in 2008. I'm highly skeptical that this injury is responsible for the downturn in his production. 

    Maybe, if he took a step toward the plate when he bats, a significant turnaround could be made in his production.

    Remember Wright hitting doubles in the right-field gaps? He used to look like a knock-off Mike Piazza.  Now he looks like a knock-off David Wright.  The Mets need him badly. It's essential.

Jason Bay Please!

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    Jason Bay with the Red Sox. This is who the Mets signed. Not the Bay of the past two years.
    Jason Bay with the Red Sox. This is who the Mets signed. Not the Bay of the past two years.Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Not quite as essential as Wright's resurgence is Jason Bay's appearance.  When he came off the DL this spring, he looked very good.  He was hitting doubles and home runs and looked like he may be able to put together a solid season.  

    That "look" has faded quickly.  

    Bay, along with Pagan, are necessary in extending that Mets' lineup and making them a top-level lineup. The lineup functioning at its full potential is something they need with such low-level starting pitching.

Johan Santana

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    Santana has been riddled by a lack of run support in New York.  When he comes back the Mets need to hope he's healthy, and they need to score some runs for him.
    Santana has been riddled by a lack of run support in New York. When he comes back the Mets need to hope he's healthy, and they need to score some runs for him.Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    If Johan Santana can come back and even get three to four runs of support a game, the Mets may actually have a chance at the playoffs.

    If Santana does not come back or does not pitch like himself, and without the Mets scoring runs for him, the Mets can just focus on putting the Washington Nationals in the NL East cellar. Although, that too would take some luck.