New York Mets Should Look to Washington Nationals on How to Play in September

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2011

Chris Schwinden is one of the few young players given a chance by the Mets organization.
Chris Schwinden is one of the few young players given a chance by the Mets organization.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The New York Mets are having an embarrassing finish to the season. Not only are they not contending, but they are also not preparing themselves for the future as much as their NL East opponents.

Since trading away Carlos Beltran on July 28, the Mets are 19-31.

With a record like this, one would assume they are trying an influx of rookies to see what they have in their organization going into next season. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The fact that 40-year-old Miguel Batista made three starts for the team is a terrible statement about where the team is headed.

Although the Washington Nationals have not made the playoffs since moving from Montreal, they are moving in the right direction. The team is 11-8 in September and is doing its best to build from within and give all of its players a chance.

The Nationals are starting to solidify the lineup, and they are also seeing what they have in Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock at pitcher. The two are looking to be a part of an opening day rotation alongside phenom Stephen Strasburg.

In order to get the these players into the rotation starting in September, the Nationals shut down Livan Hernandez for the season. They know what they can get out of the veteran, and they felt it was more beneficial to see players from their minor leagues. Talented young pitcher Jordan Zimmermann was also shut down due to an inning limit, which is something the Mets never bothered to do with their young pitchers.

As the Nationals have their bullpen set up with young pitchers in Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, the Mets keep rotating Bobby Parnell in and out of the closer role. They should have given him a chance, and then if they decided he failed, try the next person. Stability is the only thing that could help him at this point.

Stephen Strasburg is among many young players who can help the Nationals win in the future.
Stephen Strasburg is among many young players who can help the Nationals win in the future.Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The biggest problem with the Mets is that they have few players ready at the upper levels of their minor league system. Chris Schwinden has been given a chance, but he has not shown enough to prove he can be a major league pitcher. No other player in the system is even close to facing this level of competition.

Hopefully next year at this time the Mets will be able to bring up pitchers like Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia. However, there is no reason to expect the team will have any more wins when the team does not add any impact players.

With the team expected to cut payroll near the $100 million range, there seems to be no way that GM Sandy Alderson would be able to improve the roster. Most Mets fans are hoping to retain Jose Reyes, but that would leave the team with little money to do anything else.

Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't that just be the same team as the one finishing under .500 this year?

Johan Santana will most likely provide a boost, but not definitely. Also, the play of Lucas Duda at the end of the season has been very encouraging. However, that will not be enough to turn this team around.

Maybe we just have to be patient and wait for the talented players at the lower levels of the minor leagues to come to the majors, but there is still no reason to watch Willie Harris playing in 18 of 21 games this month.

As the Washington Nationals swept the Mets in a four-game series last week, it became easily apparent which team is closer to reaching a World Series.