COMMENTARY | As Bill Parcells once said, "You are what your record says you are." That is certainly true when it comes to the New York Mets.
With 56 games to go, the Mets are 10 games under .500. Sure, they get their wins (5-3 in their first eight games after the break), but then the losses always seem to return (2-5 in their last seven).
As much as we might want to believe that this team can compete this year, that really isn't the case, nor is that supposed to happen until 2014 at the earliest. Next season, we can talk about the potential for October baseball. Right now, the Mets have to keep building a legitimate baseball team
for that to happen.
What the Mets have going for them is young starting pitching. Matt Harvey, who has a 2.21 earned run average, an 8-3 record, and far too many no-decisions, is at the top of the list. But there's also Zack Wheeler who's already here, and Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, and others on the way. And then there's Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner, Jenrry Mehia in the rotation now, and Jonathon Niese, who's on the disabled list. The Mets don't need to touch their starting rotation, though you never know who might not pan out or who they might use as trade-bait. The rest of the team is another story.
While the Mets are not serious playoff contenders, general manager Sandy Alderson did the right thing by standing pat at the trade deadline. The Mets weren't going to buy, but they were right not to sell.
The two names we kept hearing were Marlon Byrd and Bobby Parnell.
Byrd has been great for the Mets this year. His 17 home runs and 60 runs batted in lead the team. He went from being a question mark at the start of the season (Byrd was suspended last year for using performance-enhancing drugs) to being the Mets' cleanup hitter. He's on a one-year deal and given his age (35) and past (PEDs), you weren't going to get much for him. And, because the Mets' offense has, at times, been inept -- case in point, the Mets left 11 runners on base in Thursday's 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins and they were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position -- they need Byrd in the lineup. Keeping him around was the right move.
Parnell might not be the surest thing in baseball, but he's developed into a reliable closer (22 saves this year), certainly a guy playoff teams would take in their bullpen. Not that the Mets have a whole lot of games to close out, but they could use all the quality bullpen guys they can get their hands on. Effective closers don't just land on your doorstep. Just ask the Mets. Parnell is young (28), and he can be a valuable piece for the future. Another good move to hold on to him.
With the Mets, it's not about making the playoffs this season. It's about feeling good about this team heading into the offseason. That means winning some games, but, more important, finding out what they can count on for the future. Put it this way: The Mets know that they need to add to their lineup for 2014 --mostly outfielders and maybe a first baseman and shortstop.
They were right to stand pat at the trade deadline. The Mets weren't going to be buyers, but it's good that they weren't sellers, either.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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