5 things the Mets need to do in the second half

12 July 2023

The first half was a mess for the Mets.

Stars such as Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Pete Alonso struggled through stretches of inconsistency. The bullpen sputtered without injured closer Edwin Diaz. Key contributors from last year’s 101-win team have taken steps back.

The result was a 42-48 record before the All-Star break, good for fourth place in the NL East and 18.5 games behind the division-leading Braves. The $360 million Mets showed signs of life with a six-game winning streak to begin July, but they ended the half on a sour note with back-to-back losses to the similarly disappointing Padres.

The good news? With three NL Wild Card spots, the Mets remain within striking distance of playoffs at seven games out.

Here are five things the Mets need to do to salvage their season.


The next three weeks will be key for the Mets to determine where they stand at the Aug. 1 trade deadline. If they’re going to make a legitimate push, they’ll need to win games fast to prove their roster is worth investing in.

First up is the NL West-leading Dodgers, whom the Mets already beat twice during an April series on the road. This weekend’s three-game set is at Citi Field, where the Mets are a game above .500 this year.

The schedule gets easier from there, with the lowly White Sox coming to town. The Mets then face the Red Sox and the Yankees on the road before hosting the last-place Nationals for four games to close out the month.

They’ll probably need to go at least 10-5 over that stretch to consider making win-now trades.


Alonso got off to an excellent start with an MLB-best 22 home runs through June 6. The next day, however, he was hit on the left wrist with a Charlie Morton pitch, sending him to the injured list for nearly two weeks.

The All-Star first baseman hasn’t been the same since returning on June 18. He’s hit only four home runs in the 20 games since and is batting .143 in July.

His .211 batting average this season would be a career-low, as would his .807 OPS. The Mets lineup was already top-heavy before Alonso’s struggles. A return to productivity would go a long way.


Assuming the Mets are in position to buy at the deadline, adding a hitter should be their top priority. Remember, the Mets badly wanted to add more top-end talent to their lineup when they agreed to a $315 million contract with Carlos Correa.

Correa’s deal fell through due to his physical, and the Mets failed to add another meaningful bat. Daniel Vogelbach has underwhelmed at DH, and the team needs for more offensive production out of its outfield.

Shohei Ohtani is the sexy target, but there’s no indication the Angels would trade the two-way superstar, and he’s due to become a free agent this offseason. The Mets should shop for cheaper options — Cody Bellinger could fit — or find someone who can also help next year, when expectations will be just as high.

If the Padres decide to listen on Juan Soto, who is under team control through 2024, the Mets should be all over it.


The main reason the Mets were considered a favorite in the National League entering 2023 was the big-money future Hall of Famers at the top of their rotation. But Scherzer and Verlander, who both earn $43.3 million this season, have been unremarkable.

Scherzer’s 4.31 ERA is the second-worst of his career — and more than two runs higher than it was in his first season with the Mets. Verlander, who won the AL Cy Young last year with Houston, had a 4.50 ERA through June 20 but has since lowered it to 3.60 with three straight strong starts.

The Mets need both veterans to dominate in the second half if they’re going to make a run.


It would be tough to give up on such a pricey team, but if the Mets fail to make up much ground by the trade deadline, they should turn their focus to next season.

They don’t have many players who would fetch a big return, but 38-year-old closer David Robertson could bring back a piece that helps in the future. Same goes for outfielder Tommy Pham, who is turning in a nice season at the plate. Both are on one-year deals with New York.

Scherzer, who turns 39 this month, has a $43.3 million player option next season, while the 40-year-old Verlander is guaranteed the same amount. It’s hard to imagine another team taking on those contracts, but the Mets could explore those trade options, too.


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