This Might Be It

This Might Be It

by Pat Nestor

Last night, about 9:40 PM or so, things were looking up for the Mets. They had just scored four runs to complete a comeback from a 6-0 deficit and tie the Cardinals at 7-7. There was word that the talks between the Astros and Phillies were breaking down in the Roy Oswalt talks over money. They had won a very decisive victory the night before by blasting Adam Wainright. The light was showing at the end of the tunnel.

However, this IS the Mets we’re talking about, so three hours later everything was reversed. The Mets lost in the 13th inning, and the Phillies and Astros agreed upon a deal for Oswalt, only awaiting the pitcher’s waving of his no-trade clause.

So at this point, let’s assume that Oswalt agrees to the trade (which is not a given, but it would be an obvious bad P.R. move on his part if he rejected the trade) . That makes the Phillies a better team, having three pitchers you can honestly say are “upper tier” in their rotation. Halladay is just about the best pitcher in baseball. Oswalt is still pretty much a legit #1 (or at least a more than solid #2) and Cole Hamels is a solid #2. Even with the injuries to their position players, the Phils have been playing excellent baseball the last few weeks and this move would cement their re-emergance as a playoff contender. The Mets are 7 1/2 games behind the Braves (and 4 games behind the Phillies) in the NL East. They are 6 1/2 games behind the Giants for the Wild Card (with three teams betwen them). The 2-9 road trip pretty much killed them. Even a 5-6 road trip would have kept them in so much better shape. However at this point, does it make sense to expect them to suddenly rip off a 12-4 run and get back into things? While it’s not totally out of the question, it’s not a likely scenario.

The only real chance this team has is to rip off series wins against the Braves and Phillies next week. However, the way this team has played on the road this year, that is not looking very likely.

UPDATE: According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, Roy Oswalt plans to OK the deal that will send him to the Phillies. The Astros will receive J.A. Happ and two prospects in return. In addition Stark says, “The Astros will pay $11 million of the approximately $23 million Oswalt has guaranteed through 2011.” In other words, the Phillies are a much stronger team now people. I think the Mets are likely going to need to shift their thinking and look towards 2011 and how to improve the team to step it up and compete with solid looking Brave and Phillie teams.