Mets appear likely to stand pat at deadline

General manager Sandy Alderson reassured reporters last week that the Mets would certainly be buyers at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

How things have changed.

“You’ve got to be realistic and take into account where you are from day to day,” Alderson said. The Mets are 1-8 since the All-Star break, and Sunday’s 12th-inning loss to the Dodgers dipped them below .500 for the first time all season.

“We’re certainly not in the same position today that we were four, five days ago,” he continued. “That doesn’t mean we’re sellers, but I’d say right now that we’re exploring a lot of different scenarios.”

The Mets’ needs are obvious — New York’s bullpen has the worst ERA in the Majors and the team is left with just two members of its Opening Day starting rotation. Top pitching prospect Matt Harvey will make his Major League debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, but Alderson knows that one arm won’t turn around a season that has so quickly spiraled out of control.

“We’ll see whether it’s important for us to invest more heavily in 2012,” he said. “I don’t think we want to invest too heavily in ’13 or ’14 to the significant detriment of 2012.

“It’s important for us to win games. We’re trying to change the perception here, and part of that is actually winning games, which we realize. So if we were to make a trade, we would want to make sure that it made sense — not just in terms of acquiring additional talent, but also taking into account the importance of the balance of this year.”

Though unexpected, New York’s post-All-Star-break slump isn’t entirely shocking — the team lost Dillon Gee to likely season-ending surgery over the break, and ace Johan Santana’s ankle injury culminated in sub-par outings. With a new playoff format to include a second Wild Card team, New York hasn’t jumped ship on 2012, but Alderson’s original self-labeling of the Mets as buyers has seemingly shifted into a holding pattern.

“You can make deals that aren’t blockbusters that are going to really improve you significantly for the remainder of this year, but set you up nicely — in some way — for the following year.”

–Adam Rosenbloom

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