Even the most optimistic of baseball fans in the Big Apple couldn't have guessed that the New York Mets would be three games over .500 and just two games back in the wild card race through the first third of the 2012 season.
New York wasn't expected to be a contender this year, but surprisingly good pitching from its starters, excellent offensive production from its young spark plugs, and a steady hand at the helm in Terry Collins, helped the team keep pace thus far with the division's elite.
If the winning ways continue, and the Mets are at least in contention for a National League Wild Card spot by the late-July trade deadline, I believe they will make a significant move to upgrade the roster for the stretch run.
"With respect to a trade, probably not before the All-Star break - but certainly during that period up through the end of that July - we'll be looking," Alderson said in an interview with MLB.com's Chatting Cage. "We'll see where we are. If we're in the race, as I expect we will be, I don't believe that money is going to be an issue for us. We'll be looking for ways to help the ballclub. It's very possible we'll still need help in the bullpen at that time, but there may be some other areas of need that will emerge and we'll have to address. Definitely we expect to be in the race, and if we are, we will be active in the trade market."
In my view, Alderson's comments hint that the franchise may be finally willing to spend some money after years of being thrifty due to the Bernie Madoff scandal that shook up the team's finances.
I don't expect anything crazy, but even a slight upgrade would show Mets fans that the team is serious about winning.
With Ike Davis continuing to struggle at first base, how about making a move for Boston Red Sox slugger Kevin Youkilis?
As for pitching, the Mets' bullpen has been brutal this year. However, the best arms available before the trade deadline will be top-quality starters like Matt Garza and Zack Greinke.
The Mets aren't going to mortage their future by tossing any top prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers or Chicago Cubs, but they could probably scoop up a decent pitcher like Wandy Rodriguez of the Houston Astros, without giving up too much.
If the Mets do make another move to upgrade the bullpen for the stretch run, perhaps they could take a look at bringing in Brett Myers, who has 15 saves and a 2.08 ERA for the Houston Astros.
Who should the New York Mets pick up at the trade deadline? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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