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Should the Mets shift directions?

The Mets defeated Cincinnati, a playoff hopeful, for the second straight night, while the Braves needed 19 innings to defeat Pittsburgh and lost Brian McCann to the disabled list in the process.

And all around the Twitterverse, you could see the question asked:

Should the Mets - now seven games behind Atlanta in the race for the NL wild-card, with three other teams between them - reverse course on trading Carlos Beltran?

It's a question that gets the juices flowing, especially for Mets fans who fantasize about miracle runs to the playoffs.

And it's the sort of question that should be addressed, by Sandy Alderson and his lieutenants, in precisely the opposite mode: Emotion-free.

Longshot playoff runs are fun, but you know what isn't fun? Prioritizing fantasy over practicality. Going for it, falling well short and therefore failing to build your organizational depth through trades.

The Mets already were yielding to thier bad recent history and their unhappy fan base by not trading the likes of Jason Isringhausen and Tim Byrdak, nor seriously entertaining trade offers for Jose Reyes. They want to stay somewhat competitive. Not that Isringhausen or Byrdak are bringing back anything huge, but more than anything, the Mets need that organizational depth, which cost them so dearly in the 2007 and 2008 seasons (and, to a lesser extent, 2006).

To hang onto Beltran now might feel good in the short term. I won't feel good over the winter when the Mets have nothing to show for Beltran, who won't get draft compensation through free agency.

We know there have been a few notable miracle runs recently - the 2007 Phillies, of course; the '07 Rockies; and the 2009 Twins.

Just for additional perspective, however, those '07 Phillies were 3 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Mets at this point in time. The '07 Rockies were 3 1/2 games out of an NL playoff spot (behind Arizona) at this juncture. The '09 Twins were two games behind the Tigers in the AL Central.

Yes, all three of those clubs lost more ground before they ultimately prevailed. Yet at the trade deadline, they didn't think they were going for miracle runs. 

There's no harm in the Mets letting things play out until Sunday's 4 p.m. non-waivers trade deadline. Shoot, if they pick up three games on the Braves between now and then, then sure, it's worth a reassessment. Most people think the Beltran sweepstakes will go down to the wire, anyway.

But at seven games behind? Not trading Beltran, even if he brings back a modest return in prospects, would not be in the best interests, long-term, for this organization.

--I'll check back later from Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees will try to build on CC Sabathia's masterpiece against the lowly Mariners.





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