Subway Series Weekend a Wakeup Call for Mets

Grit and guts can only get you so far.

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, May 23, 2011  |  Updated 8:38 AM EDT
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Subway Series Weekend a Wakeup Call for Mets

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Candlesticks always make a nice wedding present.

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For the Yankees, the seventh inning of Sunday's game was a long anticipated moment where everything clicked for an offense that has sleepwalked far too often this season.

For the Mets, it was something far different. It was a moment when it became much more difficult to believe in the flickering notion that there's a playoff berth to fight for this season.

It was a hard sell even before Mike Pelfrey again showed that he has a hard time finishing what he starts. The Mets didn't score more than three runs in any game last week, which makes their three wins a truly remarkable feat that no one can really expect to see repeated on a regular basis until reinforcements start arriving from the disabled list.

Their Buffalo Soldiers are perfect for Terry Collins's personality -- all fire and feistiness with a chip on their shoulders -- but they are a little too Hollywood to actually succeed in the big leagues.

Movies are full of miraculous success stories about how heart can make up for other failings, but real life almost always favors the talented.

Maybe it can happen and maybe these Mets are some latter day version of the "You Gotta Believe" gang. The question is whether or not you actually pin your hopes to the improbable.

That brings us to how to handle the futures of Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and others who might fetch returns that make the future less reliant on fairy tales. Moving those players got muddier as the Mets touched .500 this week, but the dose of reality provided this weekend might put the train back on track.

It doesn't hurt that Fred Wilpon has made it clear that he'd be fine with ditching both of the impending free agents. A profile in the New Yorker finds him sounding more like a caller to WFAN than the aloof man he seems to be in his other public appearances, which leads to some candid comments about the team.

He says the Mets are snake-bitten before moving on to say that Jose Reyes isn't worth the "Carl Crawford money" that he's likely to get on the free agent market. He also calls himself a dummy for overpaying Carlos Beltran after his epic 2005 playoff run because Beltran is now 65 to 70 percent of that player.

That should make for a fun pre-game media session in Chicago on Tuesday, huh? It's nice that Wilpon waited to make honest assessments about his team until after Omar Minaya ran it into the ground over and over again.

If you're not re-signing either man (and Wilpon's comments put an end to any thoughts otherwise when it comes to Reyes), why wouldn't you trade them? Maybe you don't deal Reyes if you don't feel the return is equal to two draft choices, but you have to at least shop him and then sell the hell out of the idea that he isn't worth the money he's getting from someone else.

A tough sell, but not if you point out a lineup with four players who started the year in Buffalo and the diminishing returns of so many veteran free agents over the years. The team's need to get better across the board is why Sandy Alderson is here, an overachieving few weeks can't change the long-term planning.

After all, the Mets don't even have a superstar to build around. Wilpon was very clear on that point when he called David Wright a very good player who wasn't a superstar.

We'd like to end on a positive note, so we'll point out that a man who has that much to complain about seems like someone who could be bought out of his ownership sooner rather than later. On second thought, that seems like a bit too much of that Hollywood thinking.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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