SAN DIEGO - According to one estimate by Baseball Prospectus, the Mets' chances of qualifying for the playoffs stand at just 3.8 percent. And while other outlets may give the Mets somewhat better odds, none is particularly encouraging.

Yet that hasn't dissuaded general manager Sandy Alderson from approaching the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline as a potential buyer.

"Sometimes you've gotta believe, right?" Alderson said. "This is a time."

Alderson stopped short of establishing the Mets as buyers instead of sellers. Even after going 8-2 in a 10-game homestand before the All-Star break, the Mets still have plenty of ground to make up. Alderson, however, said a postseason run is still a possibility, however slim.

"If you ask the guys on the field, they'd probably think we've got a little better chance than [3.8 percent]," Alderson said. "We've got 67 games. I know the math. We've got to play well, and we've got to play well starting with this road trip."

Alderson said the Mets haven't been engaged in many trade discussions. And though righthander Bartolo Colon is believed to be available, Alderson said it would be "a little bit speculative" to discuss where the Mets might hope to upgrade.

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"I haven't had a lot of conversations so it's not clear to me what the opportunities will be," Alderson said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

The Mets would prefer not to trade any young players, though Alderson conceded it would be possible in the right circumstances.

"It's conceivable, I guess," Alderson said. "It wouldn't be our first choice, I don't think. But it's a possibility, as long as we felt we had adequate or better replacements for that player."

If the Mets go into buyers' mode, Alderson insisted that he has the financial ability to add to the roster.

"I think we have flexibility," Alderson said. "Again, it depends on where we are and how we're performing and whether we can tack on some wins to the eight we got before the break."

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Alderson cited several positive trends of late, including a bullpen that has rounded into shape and the team's newfound ability to play well at Citi Field. The stretch adds credence to the belief that the Mets have played better than their record has indicated.

"I know all this stuff about 'you are what you are,' but the bottom line is we've got to make decisions about the future of the team, the immediate future and the long-term future, and that's not entirely based on wins and losses," Alderson said. "Run differential [plus-19 entering play Friday night] is an interesting and sometimes instructive statistic, and it gave us a little more confidence that we were a little better than we had shown."

Still, much of what comes next may be determined by how the Mets fare on a 10-game road trip that begins with three-game series against the Padres and Mariners before a four-game set against the Brewers.

"It was nice to go 8-2 but we've got a lot of ground to make up," Alderson said. "So it will be important to put wins on the board over the next 10 days or so, and I think that will give us a better idea vis-a-vis our competition and what they do."