The Mets, the way they are now, are not good enough to win the National League. In fact, they might not be good enough to win the NL East.
It's not a popular opinion and it's a tough one to state after taking three out of four games from the Phillies this weekend. But the Mets just don't have the starting pitching nor the offense to go to the World Series this year.
People around here see the Amazin's as the team to beat in the NL, but that's hardly the case. They haven't been the best team in the Senior Circuit for about a month. They might not even be second best either.
The Dodgers and Padres - time to drop your East Coast bias, people - are at last as good, if not better, than the Mets. The upstart Brewers - forget the fact that they play in a fly-over state - own the best record in the National League. All of those teams have a good chance to knock off New York in the playoffs.
If the Mets even make it that far.
There are so many more flaws that are apparent now that weren't around last year or even in April. Last season was a cakewalk - no one challenged the Mets' NL supremacy. This year is very, very different.
Who not named John Maine can the Mets count on in their rotation? After a 6-2 loss to the Rockies on Monday night at Coors Field, Tom Glavine showed that he couldn't continue his solid stretch. Orlando Hernandez has never proven he can stay off the disabled list and Oliver Perez and Jorge Sosa are both there now.
Journeyman Jason Vargas is starting Tuesday night in Colorado and if anyone thinks Pedro Martinez is going to come back and contribute this year, they're severely misguided. Dave Williams, who is recovered from his injury and pitching in New Orleans, is certainly not the answer.
The bullpen is not nearly as good as it was last year without Duaner Sanchez and Chad Bradford and the offense is severely overrated. Carlos Delgado is in a season-long, frustrating slump, Shawn Green isn't anything more than a singles hitter and Moises Alou may never come back from an injury. That vaunted, American League lineup everyone spoke about must be from the dead-ball era, because it can't hold a candle to the Brewers or even two teams from the same division - the Phillies and Marlins both score more runs per game than the Mets do.
This is not to say the Mets will stay like this. Omar Minaya is perpetually working on deals to make his team better. Mark Beurhle? Maybe. Jermaine Dye? That could prove foolish. If there is a trade out there, though, you better believe Minaya will find it. Starters Jose Contreras and Javier Vazquez could also be available from the fire-sale White Sox and the Mets could dangle Lastings Milledge.
The problem is, there just isn't too much out there that could push the Mets over the top.
The good news is, they don't need much. But they do need something more than what they have now.