It's no easy task to replace a player that produced the way Carlos Beltran did for the Mets in 2011.
Beltran rediscovered the fountain of youth and was in the midst of a career year, perhaps his finest since 2008, when the Mets traded him to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday.
The right fielder led the Mets in home runs with 15, as well as in the RBI department with 66.
However, the trade of Beltran does not have to translate into the termination of the Mets' season. As we saw last night, this Mets offense is more than capable of producing without Carlos, pending breakout performances from other offensive sources.
Let's take a look at the three players that must step up in Carlos Beltran's absence if the Mets wish to continue flirting with contention.
David Wright is getting hot at the right time.
He's seen his average rise 33 points since returning from his extended stay on the DL, while collecting two home runs and 10 RBI.
If the Mets want any chance of contending from here on out in 2011, David will have to continue this torrid pace.
With Beltran gone, Wright is the most feared bat in the Mets lineup, and he'll have to produce in that role in order to mask the deficiencies that this offense could face without Beltran.
It's a familiar plea, wouldn't you say?
Mets fans have been waiting for Bay to emerge and "be the man" from the moment he arrived in Queens.
Despite a rare extra-base hit in the series-opener with the Reds, Bay hasn't shown much inclination to break out and shoulder some of the offensive load with Beltran no longer around.
However, if the Mets expect to stay relevant in 2011, it can't be stressed enough how much Jason Bay means to this lineup. If he can somehow turn his season around and revert to even a fraction of his old form, the Mets may be looking a playoff run square in the eye.
But I regress.
This is Jason Bay we're talking about, and he's given us absolutely no reason to expect he's capable of such feats while wearing a Mets uniform.
But boy, if he ever wanted to mend fences with Mets fans and start earning his contract, now would appear to be the opportune time.
When Lucas Duda steps up to the plate, it's as if he takes on the form of a ticking time bomb.
He's a monster home run waiting to happen, and last night he didn't disappoint.
In his first start in right field replacing the departed Carlos Beltran, Duda blasted a solo shot, and the home run seemed to take on a life of its own. It was as if Duda was proclaiming, "Hey, we'll be all right."
Duda will need to continue to make these proclamations if the Mets want to hang around the wild-card hunt in 2011.
If he can somehow rediscover his power stroke that launched him to legendary status in Buffalo, he'll form a nice 3-4-5 in the middle of the Mets' order along with David Wright and Daniel Murphy.