Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor reacts on second base after his...

Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor reacts on second base after his double against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Saturday, June 15, 2024. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Last Sunday in England, in addition to making the highly questionable statement that London has better food than New York, Mets owner Steve Cohen made another comment he might need to walk back:

That the Mets can wait until the July 30 trade deadline to decide whether they are all-in on making the playoffs this season.

“The decisions are not black and white,” said Cohen, possibly a little London foggy after just having enjoyed a bowl of mushy peas. “We’re not there yet. We’ll evaluate it when we get there.”

Forget waiting. We’re there.

After beating the Padres, 5-1, on Saturday at Citi Field, the Mets have won four in a row and eight of 10. They are 10-4 since a players-only meeting on May 29. That date — when Jorge Lopez threw his glove in the stands and the Mets were swept by the Dodgers — seems like a distant memory.

Sure, at 32-37, the Mets still are five games under .500, and they are no one’s idea of a superteam.

But have you seen the rest of the National League?

 

Four of 15 NL teams are above .500. Six teams in each league are mandated by rule to make the playoffs. There’s no reason the Mets, who are two games out of the final NL wild-card spot, can’t be one of them.

Even last Sunday, before the Mets beat the Phillies in the London finale and then came back across the pond to win four of five, Cohen said: “What are we, four games out of the wild card? We shouldn’t be proud of that, right? We’re still nine games under .500. It gives you the opportunity to make the season a success. That’s the way I’m looking at it.”

And that’s the way he and president of baseball operations David Stearns should look at it now that the Mets are closer to .500 than they have been since May 20.

There’s still plenty of time to make this season a success. Not by selling at the deadline but by identifying the Mets’ weaknesses and aggressively addressing them, whether that’s in the trade market or by calling up a youngster who is better right now than what they have in the majors.

Yes, we’re looking at you, Luisangel Acuna, who when and if the Mets decide he is ready could be a multi-position spark plug.

Stearns and manager Carlos Mendoza already have added Mark Vientos to the everyday lineup over Brett Baty, jettisoned Tomas Nido to make room for Luis Torrens, threatened Jeff McNeil’s playing time with thrilled-to-be-here, productive veteran Jose Iglesias, and improved the bullpen with 28-year-old overnight sensation Dedniel Nunez (two more scoreless innings on Saturday).

If it’s broke, then fix it is a good way to run a ballclub. Stearns and Mendoza seem to be attacking problem areas rather than sitting back and hoping things work themselves out.

The way the standings stand provides a window into why the Mets should keep doing that and why they should abandon any notions of trading veterans for middle-level prospects at the deadline.

Atlanta is in the top NL wild-card spot. We’ll grant that Atlanta, even with Luisangel’s injured older brother Ronald out for the season, is better than the Mets.

No. 2 is San Diego. The Mets have beaten the Padres twice in two days to drop them to 37-37.

No. 3 is St. Louis at 34-35.

Next, and all under .500 but still within at least 1 1⁄2 games of St. Louis as Saturday’s games began, were Cincinnati, Arizona, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Washington and the Cubs.

So in their final 93 games, the Mets can’t be a little bit better than that collection of mediocrities?

“It’s 162 [games] and you’re going to go through stretches where it’s not easy,” Mendoza said. “We went through a month where, wow, it was hard for us. But just focus on the process, your preparation, how can you get better every day . . . Credit to the coaches, credit to the players, everybody in that clubhouse. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ll continue to take one game at a time, one series at a time. and good things will happen.”

We all know Arizona made the playoffs last season with 84 wins and parlayed that surprise berth into a World Series appearance.

For some teams, chasing that reality would be fool’s gold. No one believes the Pirates or Nationals, for example, should go all-in for a playoff berth.

The Mets, though, have an owner who before Opening Day said he thought the Mets were going to be a playoff team. For the first two months, as the Mets suffered what seemed to be innumerable losses, that seemed to be as wrong as Cohen preferring mincemeat pie over New York strip.

But maybe, just maybe, Cohen was right. About the team, anyway.

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