Who in their right minds would have thought on July 6th the New York Mets would be sitting at 44-42, contemplating whether or not to trade their valuable assets?
It was almost a forgone conclusion as early as spring training that the Mets would be out of contention by the all-star break, thus giving ownership the green light to go ahead and dismantle the roster.
However, Terry Collins has his troops believing, and that has translated into wins.
Something special is going on in Queens, and while that may not necessarily translate into a playoff berth, it'll certainly supply more than enough excitement for the second half of the 2011 season.
Here are eight bold predictions for the Mets in the season's second half.
With the Mets recent run of success, Sandy Alderson faces a tough decision with Carlos Beltran.
Beltran has been the Mets most consistent player this season not named Jose Reyes, and he appears to be having fun in the process.
As Gary Cohen pointed out on the SNY broadcast a few days ago, Beltran looks to be smiling more in this half a season than he has in his previous six years in New York.
Clearly, Alderson isn't going to retain Beltran just because he's flashing his teeth more.
But as long as the Mets stay in contention, it should be a no brainer that they need Beltran around. Not to mention, with the abundance of young talent on this current Mets roster, having a veteran presence in the clubhouse such as Beltran can do wonders for their development.
Carlos is an integral piece to this club, both on the field and in the clubhouse. He's a positive influence on this team, and trading him before the Mets are truly out of contention will almost certainly be the downfall of this year's club.
My money says Alderson sticks with Beltran through the trade deadline, and if the Mets fall drastically out of contention after that point, maybe then Beltran is placed on waivers and traded.
The more likely it's becoming that Carlos Beltran will remain a Met, the more a trade of Francisco Rodriguez seems probable.
K-Rod is on pace for 60 finished games, which would ensure that his $17.5 million option for 2012 will kick in.
The Mets, mired in much publicized financial turmoil, would rather not be financially handicapped heading into 2012.
There are a number of teams who would be elated to have a veteran closer such as Frankie holding down the back end of their bullpen. Not to mention, Rodriguez has already stated that he'd take on a setup role if traded to a contender, and would waive his $17.5 million option if a team is willing to discuss a long-term contract.
As well as Jason Isringhuasen has pitched this year, the Mets would be foolish not to shop him at the trade deadline.
Izzy has a great deal of experience as a closer, and is on a one-year contract. In other words, he can shore up a hole in a contending team's bullpen on the terms of a non financially-binding contract.
You can bet that sounds appealing to many contending clubs, and Sandy Alderson would be wise to cash in on that interest level.
The Mets might as well gain a couple of mid-level minor league arms in exchange for the aging veteran while they still can.
With Francisco Rodriguez and Jason Isringhausen gone, the Mets will finally look to within for their future closer.
Luckily for them, they won't have to look very far as the flame-throwing Bobby Parnell is waiting in the wings.
Parnell looks like he's finally matured into the late inning reliever the Mets have expected him to become for quite sometime now. His sinker and slider have looked devastating of late, and he appears to be pitching with a better game plan since returning from his stint on the Disabled List in May.
Better yet, he's consistently throwing in the upper 90's, touching 100 mph and higher on occasion.
Parnell has all the tools to become a future closer. With Rodriguez and Isringhausen potentially set to be dealt, that time appears to be coming quite soon.
Despite his recent hamstring issues, expect Jose Reyes to return fully healthy and continue right where he left off.
The Mets are being cautious with Reyes' hamstring, and there's no reason to believe he'll return to the lineup until he's fully healthy.
In case you've been living under a rock for the past three months, a healthy Jose Reyes these days looks a lot like superman in a Mets uniform.
Anticipate Jose staying hot as the season progresses, making his case for MVP that much stronger.
At this point, David Wright might as well be on the Disabled List with a bruised ego.
The one time prince of New York has fallen out of grace with a great deal Mets fans given his underwhelming performance in the early going of 2011 and his extended stay on the DL.
David is a proud athlete, and he's a competitor. You can bet that when he returns, he'll do so with a vengeance.
David's back problems have been rumored to be lingering since the beginning of the season, even before he suffered a stress fracture in Milwaukee.
That could explain his horrid start to the season, and perhaps Wright needed an extended stay on the DL so that he could comeback fully healthy and ready to help this team in the second half.
Yes, we've seen Jason Bay "break out" before only to fall even further into one of his now patented slumps. But this time, something feels different.
It started with a slow progression.
At first, Bay couldn't hit the ball if it was placed on a tee for him. He was out in front of everything, dragging his bat through the zone, and pulling his head off of the ball.
Then he began hitting some bleeders through the left side of the infield as well as some texas leaguers.
Then the pop finally came back, and last night he placed an exclamation point on his return to power with two home runs– one of which to opposite field.
If Mets fans have seen anything positive out of Jason Bay in the past year and a half, it's that when he's hitting the ball with authority to right field, he's ready to go on a tear.
Sure, this could be another "Bay-Tease", but given the positive vibe around this team, and the rock-bottom status Bay hit just a few weeks ago, it appears this time he could truly be back to his old self.
Maybe i'm sipping the Kool-Aide. Maybe i'm too caught up in the exciting brand of baseball this team is providing us with right now.
But if the Mets can stay in the race without David Wright, Johan Santana, and Ike Davis, imagine what they can do when those All-Star caliber talents are set to return to the field (here's to hoping the removal of Ike's walking boot means a better MRI outcome).
At their current pace, the Mets are slated to win roughly 83 games, which could very well mean playing meaningful baseball until the season's final weeks.
Now, take that current Mets win total and add Wright, Santana, and Davis into the mix. It's highly likely that the Mets will in fact stay in playoff contention well into late September.