Deal or No Deal: Mets Face Tough Decision

Schedule is very tough after finishing up with Nats

Friday afternoon has brought news that J.J. Putz needs elbow surgery that will keep him out for 8-10 weeks at the very least. Putz may not have been pitching well, but with Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado already on the shelf for the rest of the month as well the Mets have to be thinking about making some kind of deal to help their team weather the storm.

James at Amazin Avenue has penned a letter to Mets G.M. Omar Minaya begging him not to make a blockbuster deal for Matt Holliday or Carlos Lee because his peers in Oakland and Houston can tell when they've come across a wounded animal. Such a move might make the Mets better, but would come at a prohibitively high cost. He suggests making smaller acquisitions, suggesting Nick Johnson of Washington, and remember that the season isn't lost.

He's right. The Mets have a 40 percent chance of getting to October at this moment, according to Baseball Prospectus, but the only flaw in James' reasoning is that he's only focusing on this point. After playing three games in Washington this weekend, the Mets' schedule gets quite rough. Of the 32 games leading up to the All-Star Game, only four are against teams currently below .500 and all four of those games are on the road.

Six games with the Phillies, six games with the Yankees and a trip to Milwaukee stand out as the most difficult games, but there isn't much margin for error. If the Mets don't act soon, they may find themselves with no reason to make a move at all for the season's second half. If things look desperate now, in other words, waiting could turn things into a full-fledged panic.  

Would Johnson be enough to get them through this stretch? That's an unanswerable question, but every fan who would kill Minaya for giving up the farm for Lee today would be crushing him in July for not doing enough if it didn't work out. That's not an enviable position, especially since it was created by the fates and not by any particular mistake Minaya made while constructing his team.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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