Commentary

Deadline plays out as projected for Mets

There's still waivers to get through, but injuries kept the Mets' front office quiet Sunday

Updated: July 31, 2011, 8:13 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

WASHINGTON -- The trade deadline passed precisely the way general manager Sandy Alderson projected last week, with Carlos Beltran joining Francisco Rodriguez in having a new address and the New York Mets otherwise standing pat.

Why did the Mets not trade outfielder Scott Hairston or newly designated closer Jason Isringhausen or any other veteran piece not part of the long-term future?

[+] EnlargeScott Hairston
Rob Carr/Getty ImagesScott Hairston had two home runs Sunday against the Nationals in our nation's capital.

The way manager Terry Collins explained it, Alderson might have been inclined to move a player such as Hairston if there were a Triple-A prospect ready to step in, but that was not the case.

The corps of young players at Buffalo -- limited as it was -- has been decimated by injury. Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. Fellow outfielder Fernando Martinez just returned Saturday from his latest injury, this time hip trouble. And corner infielder Zach Lutz -- Zach with an "H" -- is dealing with his second concussion this season after again getting beaned.

"We're here to win some games, too," Collins said after a pair of Hairston solo homers off the bench accounted for the lone runs in the Mets' 3-2 loss at Washington on Sunday afternoon. "… As we look in our organization, if we were healthy at a couple of levels, where we had our young position players playing a lot and ready to come up here, it would be one thing. But Sandy felt all along, 'Hey, look, we've got games to win, too. We need players.'"

So if the 22-year-old Martinez or the 23-year-old Nieuwenhuis had been healthier, things might have been different trade-wise?

"There was a possibility of that happening," Collins acknowledged. "But right now we think we're still playing for something."

With Sunday's loss, the Mets completed their three-city trip at 6-4. They are now 55-53 with 54 games to go. They remained 7.5 games behind the wild-card-leading Atlanta Braves.

Collins planned to address the team on the short flight back to New York from D.C. The manager said right-hander Mike Pelfrey already knew the message that was about to be conveyed.

"He could probably give the speech," Collins said. "He said, 'I know what you're going to tell us -- that we've got a chance. And we all feel the same way.'

"It's going to be brief," Collins continued about his message. "It's just, 'Hey, look, all that [trade-deadline] stuff is over with, let's just continue to gather around each other and grind it out for the next 55 games."

Of course, even Collins acknowledged the trade deadline really has not passed. Players may be traded in August assuming they clear waivers.

If a waiver claim is made on a Met in August, Alderson can pull back the player, which would prevent that player from being traded at all. Or the GM could try to work out a deal with the claiming team -- and only that team.

"I've been in situations where I didn't get a player at the trading deadline when we needed one, yet we got him in the month of August -- late August, but we got it," Collins said, referring to his days in the 1990s with the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels. "So it's not over. Believe me. It's a long way from over. When you get close to September 1, and those teams that really feel they're one piece away, things happen."

Of course, after that everyone will start wondering if Jose Reyes will be re-signed. So the drama really never ends.

"That's right," Collins said.

Said Reyes about that contract talk: "After the season."

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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