With only a month and a half left in the Mets' baseball season, many fans have called it quits and are already looking forward to football season.
Although the rest of the Mets season has no significance on this year's wild card standings, the next month and a half will have a huge impact on the Mets for 2012 and beyond.
In order to move forward, there are some concerns about the team that need to be addressed by the end of the season. Fans, along with the front office, still have many questions about the roster, specific players and the organization as a whole. The next forty games could determine the future and the direction of the organization.
Here are six topics Mets fans should follow closely until the end of September.
As much as we want prospects Jeurys Familia, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler to come and save the Mets pitching staff from mediocrity, they are at least two years away from being major league ready. You might see Familia make an appearance in September of 2012, but the other two should take at least these two years to develop. I am guessing the front office won't rush either Harvey or Wheeler up to the big leagues. They certainly don't want another Jenrry Mejia-esque problem to transpire.
Here are some names that you might see come September:
Fernando Martinez (OF): He is currently hitting .260 with 8 HR and 30 RBI in the Mets AAA affiliate in Buffalo. I swear, it seems like he's been in the Mets system for ten years. So far, Martinez has not panned out to be the five-tool, high-valued prospect that many perceived him to be. Injuries have prevented from flourishing and getting more playing time in the minors. The Buffalo Bisons just placed Martinez on the DL.
He's only 22 years old; then why does it seem like time is running out on his career? Either way, you might see Martinez when he comes off the DL and when the rosters expand in September.
Josh Satin (IF): Satin is currently batting .324 with 12 HR and 71 RBI this year. After being promoted from AA, Satin has been continuing his great year while in AAA. He is batting .352 in 91 at-bats at Buffalo. With his offensive production, he should definitely be up in the big leagues next month.
Jordany Valdespin (IF): This call-up could be less of a possibility because he has been struggling of late in his recent promotion to AAA, but I believe he could be a nice addition in September. He has hit well this year in AA Binghamton with a .287 average along with 15 HR and 51 RBI. He also has 33 stolen bases. If the Mets are unable to re-sign Reyes he could become the shortstop of the future.
The Mets are building towards the future and these three, along with the aforementioned pitchers, will be important if the Mets want to be successful in the upcoming years.
The Mets have had a series of light-hitting second basemen over the past few years. This is a major problem for an offense that tends to have major cold streaks during the season.
This year has brought more of the same.
Although Justin Turner impressed for the first few months of the season, he has not been as productive offensively as of late. Turner has seen his batting average drop from .320 on June 1st to .262, and he has dealt with a few small injuries. Despite his infamous mental lapse against the Marlins on August 1st, he has played the field pretty well. He has not been the only Met occupying the second base position.
Ruben Tejada has played some games at second this year. Even though he is a really good fielding second baseman, he has had problems with his bat the past few years. He is currently hitting .261 for the year. In spite of his improved hitting from last year, he is still very inconsistent offensively, which can be a major problem for the Mets.
Willie Harris? No comment.
I know that both Turner and Tejada are young and have some time to grow, but what happens when Daniel Murphy returns next year? The Mets have a huge decision to make.
Are they willing to compromise Murphy's mediocre glove for his offense in 2012?
But are the Mets willing to risk his health for him to play second?
Murphy has suffered two consecutive season-ending injuries while playing at second base so it's not an easy decision to make. They also can't put Murphy at first because Ike Davis will be back next year.
The next month and a half will be crucial in determining who plays where next season.
At his best, Jose Reyes is arguably the biggest impact player in the majors, but at his worst he is injury prone and a big question mark.
On August 8th in a game against the Padres, he suffered his second hamstring injury of the season while running out a ground ball. A month earlier he hurt the same leg in the same exact way.
By not trading him at the deadline, the Mets demonstrated that they want Reyes to be a part of the Mets organization for years to come, but the front office is worried whether his history of injuries will be a problem.
After he came back from his first injury he slumped and cooled off from the torrid start he had in the first half of the season. Mets fan are hoping the same doesn't happen after his latest stint on the DL. The Mets and many other teams will keep a close eye on Reyes to see how he performs and bounces back.
As for right now, you can almost hear the money coming out of Jose Reyes' proverbial cash register each day he stays on the DL.
Many Mets fans are asking why reliever Bobby Parnell is not closing.
I would ask those fans: why would you want Parnell to be closing right now? He has been extremely ineffective in the past month.
Before July 19th he was turning heads and impressing many Mets fans with his dominant fastball reaching 100 mph on the radar gun. There was immediate speculation that he would be the closer of the future, even before K-Rod was traded.
Since then, Parnell's earned run average has jumped from 2.70 to 4.20. He has given up 11 earned runs in his past 14 appearances.
I know the Mets want to prepare for the future, but they also want to make sure they secure the games where they have leads going into the ninth inning. Current Mets closer, Jason Isringhausen, has struggled as well, but Isringhausen has already established himself as a reliable closer in his career.
Although I do believe Parnell will redeem himself in the next month and a half, Mets fans should keep a close eye on his performance for the rest of the season and decide for themselves if they want Parnell closing for the Mets in 2012.
One thing Mets fans can actually look forward to is the performance of right fielder Lucas Duda.
The humble, soft-spoken Duda has provided a spark after the Mets traded Carlos Beltran. With the departure of Beltran, Duda was essentially handed the starting right fielding job and he has not disappointed, especially in the month of August.
Duda is batting .333 with 3 HR and 10 RBI in the month of August—this includes a game-winning hit against San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell in a dramatic victory on August 8th. He has demonstrated why he was the organization's minor league player of the year in 2010.
Regardless of some growing pains he will inevitably face, Duda has a large ceiling and he will benefit from the playing time that he will get during the rest of the season and beyond.
Look for more great play from the young RF for the rest of the year.
On May 26th, 2011, hedge fund manager David Einhorn became a minority stake owner for $200 million. If owner Fred Wilpon is unable to re-pay that sum of money in three years, then Einhorn will become a majority owner. Right now, it is not looking good for Mr. Wilpon.
On Tuesday, August 16th, ESPN.com's Adam Rubin reported that trustee Irving Picard was able to verify that Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz profited a total of $300 million dollars from Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. They are currently being sued for $1 billion—$300 million dollars for the profits they allegedly made and $700 dollars million in principal for being "unaware" of Madoff's operation.
Tomorrow the judge will decide whether to dismiss the case or rule in favor of Picard. If Picard comes out on top, this could be a crucial blow for the Mets owners if they have any plan to re-pay David Einhorn.
Although it may take a few years to determine what will happen to the Mets organization, the next few days and weeks will let Mets fans know if Wilpon will still be the owner of the team for years to come.
Personally, I believe it's time for a change. I also think it's nonsense that Wilpon had no idea that Madoff was running that type of illegal operation. We will see whether the judge will dismiss the case. Either way the Mets' financial situation has become a major problem for the team, but a joke on late night talk shows.
The Mets will have a hard time reaching legitimacy if they continue to have this dark cloud over the team. Wilpon needs to go.
Erick Fernandez is the creator of I Want to Thank My Hood & My Psychiatrist