Burning Questions for Mets in Second Half - NBC New York

Burning Questions for Mets in Second Half

Looking ahead before baseball returns



    Burning Questions for Mets in Second Half
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    How can the Mets keep pointing forward?

    The biggest question about the Mets' second half of the season doesn't have anything to do with the guys in the uniforms.

    It has to do with the fans, who are caught between two emotions as a result of the team's 46-40 start. They are asking themselves right now whether or not to fully invest themselves in this team, knowing quite well that the team reached the halfway point of the last two seasons with winning records and promptly went into the tank.

    But you want to buy in, you want to believe that the return of Johan Santana makes this team different, even if their defense and bullpen look a lot like the disappointing ones from the last two seasons. Belief is at the core of being a fan because it would be impossible to care enough to keep showing up every year without it.

    When there are good arguments to be made on either side, answers will vary so I won't tell you which way to go. We'll contend with other questions, starting with whether or not the Mets should fully invest themselves.

    How far should the Mets go in their attempt to win a playoff spot? They should certainly address the bullpen, but that would be true even if they were 40-46. The return of Frank Francisco isn't going to be enough to get this group where it needs to be.

    It's a bit of a punt, but they have to wait before making decisions about any other spots on the roster. Ten days from now, you'll know if it is worth making a bigger play -- even if Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are untouchable, Jeurys Familia and other prospects could go in the right deal -- to help the offense, defense or rotation.

    Offense, defense or rotation? That's a lot of areas to improve, no? It is, but it's also the truth about the current Mets team. The latter two are more glaring, especially with Dillon Gee possibly out for the rest of the season and Miguel Batista the current "answer" to the need.

    Is R.A. Dickey going to keep it up? The only real reason to rage against Dickey not starting the All-Star Game is that Tony LaRussa claimed Matt Cain was being rewarded for his work in prior seasons. Dickey's been doing this since 2010 and he keeps getting better so there's no reason to think the fun stops here.

    Will Ike Davis be better in the second half? He was so bad recently that it feels a little strange saying that he should be, but we can't say anything else. June looks so much better than April and May -- more walks, fewer strikeouts and more extra base hits than in the first two months combined -- and it wasn't fueled by anything unsustainable based on Davis' prior work.

    Who might be worse in the second half? Ruben Tejada has made it possible to forget about all the Jose Reyes angst, but a .393 batting average on balls in play means that he's likely to backslide in coming days. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has had similar good luck and his massive strikeout rate is a scary indicator going forward.

    Where's Terry Collins' contract extension? Excellent question. It should be forwarded to the Mets.

    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.