Around the Mets, the winds of change already are strong enough to have a name. So when the franchise's No. 1 brand, David Wright, was placed on waivers this month, it seemed a metaphor for how dramatically the Citi Field landscape will be changed next season.
Especially given that the move recalled the not-so-politic comment three months ago by team owner Fred Wilpon to the New Yorker about Wright, his five-time All-Star and solid citizen: "Really good kid. A very good player. Not a superstar."
But then, neither is Chris Capuano -- the veteran lefty patched together by two Tommy John surgeries who once lost 26 consecutive games -- a superstar. Capuano threw a stylish two-hitter Friday night in a 6-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves. He struck out a career-high 13 and didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning.
And for two others who started the year in Buffalo, Justin Turner (a two-run double) and Lucas Duda (3-for-4, a two-run double and two runs scored).
Atlanta put only two runners on base, one immediately erased on a double play and the other on a double by David Ross that appeared to have been catchable by Duda -- still feeling his way in rightfield -- in the eighth.
"The young guys have done tremendously. Tremendously," manager Terry Collins said. "But this time of year, you got to be healthy if you're going to compete. I know one thing: Had we stayed healthy, we'd have been playing for something right now."
There is no avoiding the fact that the Mets' boat continues to spring multiple leaks. Outfielder Jason Bay was a late scratch because of a jammed shoulder suffered Tuesday, and Collins noted that seven of his eight original starters have missed significant time during 2011's long, difficult slog.
"And I don't mean weeks ," Collins said. "We're talking two months, a month, four months, and that's really difficult to ask young guys [to fill in].''
Yet just as the backup crew steadfastly refuses to pull the plug with a month to go, Wright shrugged off the waiver news as normal procedure.
"Most, if not all, of the players get put on waivers," he said. "It's nothing. I don't really take it personally or anything like that. It just happens. I'm not planning on getting traded.
"If I do, it'll be a surprise to me."
Wright was not claimed by another team, likely because of his hefty contract (he's due $15 million next year). Whether the Mets have any desire to trade him or merely were testing other clubs' interest is as much of an unknown to Wright as why the news about his waivers got out.
"It just seems like this year has become more of one where front-office people are talking about what happens on waivers," he said. "I'm sure that I've been put on waivers before. I'm sure that I've been claimed, so I just think it's part of the process.
"But this is the first year I can remember it being somewhat of an issue. I don't really remember so many players, kind of the cat getting out of the bag, and who claimed them and this and that. But I guess that's the direction it's going.
"It doesn't affect me one way or another. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it or think twice about being put on waivers."
He refuses to be blown away.