DON'T BE FOOLED BY METS' ABOVE-.500 FIRST HALFBy Ian Begley
Sandy Alderson and the Mets will publicly say they haven't waved the white flag in light of the Francisco Rodriguez trade. But they should.
Carlos Beltran is likely to be dealt next. No surprise there. But Jose Reyes should be on the table as well. Same goes for David Wright.
Blow it up. It's time to start fresh in Flushing.
Let's not let the Mets' game-over-.500 record heading into the second half cloud the bigger picture: Terry Collins' crew is not making the playoffs this season.
And, as currently constituted, the Mets are not suited to seriously complete for a playoff spot in the coming seasons.
Which is why Alderson needs to start from scratch.
As he showed in Oakland and San Diego, Alderson, with his Moneyball approach, can rebuild on the fly.
It won't take five years to build a competitor. He can likely get a quality starter for Reyes and should be able to get solid pieces back for Beltran and Wright.
Most fans probably want the Mets to make a bid for Reyes. But the Mets, with their payroll affected by the Bernie Madoff mess, will likely lose in a bidding war for the shortstop.
So they'd be better served getting a starting pitcher or a position player back instead of the draft picks they'd receive in compensation if they lose Reyes as a free agent.
Let's not forget that the Mets are further hamstrung by the contracts of Jason Bay and Johan Santana.
So that's even more of an impetus to sell, sell, sell this summer. It started with K-Rod. Consider that deal "step one" in the right direction, with more to come.
WHITE FLAG? GIVE THIS TEAM A CHANCEBy Kieran Darcy
Congrats to Sandy Alderson for finding a team willing to take Francisco Rodriguez -- and his $17.5 million vesting option for next season -- off his hands. But now is certainly not the time to break up the 2011 New York Mets.
In case you've forgotten over the All-Star break, the Mets stand at 46-45. In other words, a game over .500 -- despite the fact they've been without their slugging corner infielders, David Wright and Ike Davis, for much of the season, and without their top starting pitcher, Johan Santana, for the entire season. Pretty darn impressive, if you ask me.
Wright is expected to begin playing minor league rehab games Friday, while Davis is running on a treadmill -- both could be back in the Mets' lineup by the end of the month. And Santana may return in August or September. All three could provide big boosts.
Yes, the Mets trail the Atlanta Braves by seven games in the loss column for the NL wild card. But they are capable of making up that ground, especially if they get the above reinforcements. The Amazin's also have nine games left with the Braves head-to-head -- six of them at home.
Even putting that $17.5 million vesting option aside, the bottom line is Rodriguez was expendable. After a strong start which lasted until late May, K-Rod had not been nearly as sharp of late. His ERA had risen from 0.74 on May 26 to 3.16 by the All-Star break, including back-to-back blown saves in mid-June. That 3.16 ERA and his batting average against of .265 at the break were both career worsts.
The Mets have an experienced former closer in Jason Isringhausen (293 career saves) who can step into that role for the final 2½ months of the season. Or they could turn to Bobby Parnell, whose fastball has been topping out at 100 mph of late and who has surrendered just three hits in his past six outings.
Either way, the Mets have performed too well this season to pull the plug 2½ weeks before the July 31 trading deadline. Give this team a chance.