On July 30, 2004, the Mets were 49-53, seven games behind Atlanta in the NL East and 7 1/2 out of the wild card, in ninth place. What better time to trade Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano.
On July 31, 2009, the Mets are 49-52, 9 1/2 games behind Philly in the NL East and 6 1/2 out of the wild card, in eighth place.
In theory, the Mets are much better off this year than they were in 2004, since they are due to get back "four All-Stars" as I have read in a number of places. But there are some problems with that argument.
First of all, we have been hearing that the Mets are close to getting Jose Reyes back practically since he left the lineup. It is still impossible to know the truth.
Second, even if everyone does make it back, will they be at All-Star form? Very unlikely for Carlos Delgado at least. Rumors that Carlos Beltran will try to make it back, then undergo microfracture surgery in the offseason do not make his situation look promising, either. And if Billy Wagner is going to make a contribution, why is the Mets' top priority supposedly another lefty arm in the pen.
Once Reyes comes back, he probably will be at or close to top form, since he would not come back otherwise.
Still, getting Reyes back and some version of Beltran and Delgado is better than, say, getting Cliff Lee.
But will it enable the Mets to go 41-20 the rest of the way, which they will need to do to win 90 games? Not even if all those guys came back today.
To make matters worse, the Mets have a GM who is fighting for his job. The future is now for Omar Minaya. By the time his vaunted 17-year-olds make it to the majors, if they ever do, he will be long gone.
But Omar does have a long contract, and if the Mets can continue to turn it around and end up with 85 wins (going 36-25 the rest of the way seems doable), coming close to last year's 89 wins with a healthy squad, that would be pretty impressive, and Minaya and Jerry Manuel would deserve to come back.
There would still be a lot of work to be done for next year, but there will be a lot more to do if there are any panic moves made today at the deadline.