Sweet Sixteen

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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Paul June 28, 2011 at 8:03 am
    It seems like the price is going to be too low on rent-a-players to make it worth while unless the Mets completely tank in this stretch.

    If they can go .500 or better during this stretch, they should try to add players without mortgaging the future too badly – don’t underestimate what a playoff run could do for late season attendance and 2012 ticket sales.

  2. PokerGob June 28, 2011 at 8:17 am
    I think your number 10-6 is a good number for the “Go For It Attitude” and anything else is “Pack it In” even 9-7
  3. Alex June 28, 2011 at 8:54 am
    This stretch will provide little insight about the Mets, who are the perennial kings of inconsistency. I wouldnt be surprised if they win 4 out of these series – and get swept by the dodgers.

    Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees for 100k and a loan – Lefty Grove was traded for a fence, and Cy Young was traded for a suit. I would take less for Jason Bay.

    • gary s. June 28, 2011 at 9:57 am
      Can it be an old suit?He’s not worth a new one .
  4. Double Overtime Radio June 28, 2011 at 9:33 am
    10-6 is a good number. I think that SHOULD push off trading some of these players, but you just never know. it may take more for the front office to go into buy mode.
    • Jay from Cuse June 28, 2011 at 9:47 am
      I like to think more in terms of series wins. I think the Metropolitans are most likely to take the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants series. I think if they can do that and hit the 9 win mark in the process we can pretty much assume the Mets will try to hang around make a wild card run, though I really think that Beltran and Rodriguez should go either way for prospects.
  5. Garett June 28, 2011 at 11:32 am
    Think in series term, thats how TC has the Mets thinking; 10-6 means a split in one series and winning 4 vs a few of the best staffs in baseball and definately the best 1-2-3 in baseball in Halladay & Co. If we do this, and continue to grind in early part of 2nd half, we are a wild card contender and Alderson knows what to do. We know we can play with anyone.
  6. FrankTaveras June 28, 2011 at 11:51 am
    Why are you guys separating winning series from winning games? At the end of the season it doesn’t matter how many series you win, it matters how many games you win. If the Mets take two of three from the first-place teams and then get swept by the Dodgers, their 8-8 record leaves them in exactly the same boat they’re in now — a .500 team going nowhere.
    • Jay from Cuse June 28, 2011 at 2:46 pm
      Well, when you win SERIES you tend to be winning games. If we get swept by the dodgers but take two of three from everyone else yes its a statistical .500 trip. But why focus on the one bad abberation if we loose all the series’ then were 5-11. Wouldn’t you rather be 8-8 and have just taken a set from every 1st place club? Of course you would. The difference between .500 ball the rest of the season and a .500 split on a tough 16 game set is astronomical in terms of what it will do to the confidence level of this team. It would also show Alderson and Co. that with maybe a piece or two plus a healthy Johan we just might sneak a WC birth out.
  7. Joe June 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm
    Last year they went in freefall after the All Star Break. Be interested how that works this year.