Tonight’s game against the Tigers marks the beginning of a vital 16-game stretch for the New York Mets. Between now and July 17th, the Mets play 16 games. Why did I pick the 17th? It was mostly arbitrary, but by that date, the Mets will have played:
3 games against the Detroit Tigers
3 games against the New York Yankees
4 games against the Los Angeles Dodgers
3 games against the San Francisco Giants
3 games against the Philadelphia Phillies
All but the Dodgers are currently in first place in their respective divisions. In other words, they are superior ballclubs. How the Mets measure up against them will give us a clear idea on whether they really can make a run at a postseason bid, or if their recent success is merely a mirage. Why is it important to know which way the Mets are going? Because the trading deadline is exactly two weeks after July 17th. If the Mets do not fare well against these first-place clubs, it may make sense to trade off — at minimum — Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez.
Perhaps the worst thing that can happen is the Mets go 8-8 over these next 16 — because it will tell us little about which way they should go (be sellers or buyers). If they go 10-6 against these tough clubs, it could provide support to “go for it” in the second half. If they go 6-10, it could be a signal to “pack it in” and start the rebuilding process.
I tossed out those 10-6 / 6-10 records as examples; I’m not even sure how well or poorly the Mets need to do to make a decision. That said, what do you think? How many wins — or losses — over the next 16 games will make it clear to you that the Mets need to be buyers or sellers at the deadline? Let me know in the comments.