The Mets have a big second half of July before the trading deadline. They play nine big games against the two teams closest to them in the division. If the Mets are going to make some roster moves, whether it’s by trade acquisition or minor league promotion, you’d like to seem the do so coming out of the break. In fact, you do already hear rumors of the Mets being linked to possible relievers on the trade market.
There is still a lot of baseball to be played, but it’s important to put your best team forward when you’re playing the teams you’re probably going to be fighting for a playoff spot down to the wire. A strong second half showing in July could get the Mets into first place and allow them to put the pressure on the other teams in the division.
The Nationals have talked about limiting Steven Strasburg’s innings this season. That’s easier to do if they maintain a 3.5 game lead, but if the Mets can push them to the bubble, it forces them to make some hard decisions. The Braves collapsed last year, and as this season comes to a close that could weigh on their minds. Why give them a cushion to be comfortable with? Keep the doubt that they’re good enough fresh in their minds as the second half rolls along.
The flip side of this is R.A. Dickey. The Mets have talked about the possibility of using Dickey on short rest and/or in relief if they need to. Knuckleballer or not, he’s still 37 years old. It’d be nice to not have to use this bullet, at least not too often, in September. Getting into first and maintaining a playoff spot would allow them to not have to squeeze every last drop of production out of Dickey and keep him fresher for a possible playoff series.