David Lennon is an award-winning columnist and author who has been a staff writer at Newsday since 1991.
Sandy Alderson said Friday that he's ready to "overpay" in a trade to save the Mets' season. And if that's really more than just GM speak, we'd expect help to be marching through the clubhouse door with a duffel bag over the shoulder in short order.
Shouldn't teams be lining up for a crack at a GM willing to deal a significant prospect or player with the clock ticking?
Alderson remained vague on what's available right now, a little more than a month before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. But let's be real here. The Mets can't take forever to figure that out. They don't have a ton of time, and to pretend that 1-7 road trip was an anomaly, well, "Panic City" -- as Alderson jokingly referred to it -- wasn't built overnight.
Since that 11-game winning streak, which feels like a decade ago, the Mets are nine games under .500 (25-34) after Friday night's 2-1 win over the Reds and are an abysmal team away from Citi Field (11-26).
That's not new. It's been going on for a while now. And you don't have to hack into the Mets' computer network to find out why.
Entering Friday night, their .665 OPS was tied with the Brewers for second-to-last in the National League. The Mets also were dead last in the majors, No. 30, in road scoring with an average of 2.8 runs per game.
They have legitimate excuses for that. No David Wright, and what's amounted to cameos by Daniel Murphy and the oft-injured Travis d'Arnaud. Some bang for the buck out of Michael Cuddyer would be nice, too.
But what's done is done, and with Alderson saying that Wright's condition is virtually unchanged, we can't expect any contribution from the captain at all this season, never mind in the next month.
And that's when the Mets could reach the point of no return, when the damage will become irreparable. Once the Reds leave town after this weekend, the Mets will face a 22-game stretch that includes 16 against the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals and Nationals. If you count the upcoming three against the Cubs, the team that swept the Mets in a four-game series in May at Wrigley, it's even more daunting.
"You better believe it's critical," manager Terry Collins said. "We're playing all division-leading teams in the month of July and we better pick up the way we play."
That's the kind of schedule that sinks teams, and in recent years, the Mets have melted in July faster than a Popsicle on the sidewalk. There's not much evidence to suggest that it won't happen again.
We're as amped up as anyone to see former Ward Melville star Steven Matz make his Mets debut Sunday at Citi Field. And after dominating the hitter-owned Pacific Coast League, he'll be a great addition.
But inserting Matz into a rotation that boasts the sixth-ranked ERA (3.80) is sort of like bringing sand to the beach, especially as a sixth starter.
We realize the Mets had to do something to keep the innings in check for Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. It was unavoidable. No more kicking the problem down the road.
That same urgency now should apply to finding another bat. Last season, Jon Lester was traded for Yoenis Cespedes. Jeff Samardzija was dealt for Addison Russell. Martin Prado was swapped for Yankees prospect Pete O'Brien. David Price wound up on the Tigers in a three-team trade.
Contending clubs make July moves every season, so are we really supposed to believe Alderson can't find a fit for the Mets? Even when he's prepared to overpay for that someone? Nope. Not this year.
We know making deadline deals for an impact player carries greater risk than selling high on the likes of Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey, two of Alderson's greatest triumphs. But that's the job, and everyone has waited long enough.
"I'm not whistling past the graveyard," Alderson said.
Then try to keep the Mets' season from ending up there, the way too many of them have.