Barring a sweep of the D-backs or Matt "Hang -em High" Harvey notching double digit K's every fifth day, the pennant race probably won't feature the Mets. But those games will still be critical for the club's future. An increasing number of trade related posts/fan shots suggest the AA faithful, while not tossing in the towel, are starting to ponder the 2013 roster.
Some gaps are glaring & obvious: the pen, the OF, backup backstop and what's the best Danny Valdespin balance at second. It's also fairly obvious that Sandy has limited in-house options for most of those holes. There's a dearth of big-league ready high-ceiling OFers, backup catchers and relief arms. Less certain is whether Duda is more likely dud or dude but his glove is not that of a stud.
So Sandy's mission is clear. Weigh whether Bay's sunk cost ought to be swallowed, whether Cap'n Kirk or the Double D at Triple A can contain their K-rates and whether Mejia ought to be bounced back again to the pen. He'll evaluate, budget and shop and with a little luck we'll see some marginal improvement in one or more of those areas. But barring a gamble on a FA closer, there's no clear path to order of magnitude changes.
But there is at one position.
A year ago Ike Davis looked like the slugger of our dreams with a slick glove to boot! Then came the boot. And the fever. And April. And May. June's 264/363/563/926 felt like the fever breaking . . . but then came July and a return of the summertime blues.
July's 216/253/459 has literally been BOOM or bust. Half his July hits have gone for extra bases but his k/bb is 19/4. The slugging beats April/May but pales next to the dreamy 543 he opened with in 2011. Everyone's entitled to a bad month - but it catches up with you after you spent April & May on the interstate.
The next sixty days are crucial for Ike and the club. Realistically there are too many other holes to do anything but hope he returns to form next season no matter how he finishes. But this roster is hard pressed to compete with the -0.6 oWAR first baseman that has been Ike so far.
It would be disappointing but not surprising if one of Ike or Duda fail to sniff their ceiling but it'd be a huge hit if neither was able to strike fear into pitchers next season - I don't see the Hairston/Valdy combo nailing 19 HRs in 320 ABs again in my lifetime.
Bobby Parnell and Ike Davis are the two major league ready and affordable guys with the clearest path for improvement next year. If they can both find consistency at an improved level of play we could be appreciably more dangerous.