The Mets went on an 11-game road trip to try to fortify themselves as a contender in the National League.

After losing four of six on their last home stand before the All-Star break to the Reds and first-place Braves respectively, the Mets and everyone affiliated with them knew that this West Coast trip would be their toughest challenge of the season.

The Mets front office decided not to make a move for a starting pitcher at the break, when it was clear that they could’ve used one on the trip. They thought they would at least survive the three-city ride by winning five or six games, and then make a move.

You can look at it from two angles. Were the Mets right by not making a move and now finding out they’re not good enough to compete? Or, were the Mets dead wrong, and did they just pay the price for standing still?

You’d have to agree with the latter, considering it was only July 15, and the Mets were within a couple of games of the Wild Card and even division.

Now, to play devil’s advocate, you make the case that it was the hitting that cost them nine of 11 games, and that’s obviously so. But, no one knew that before the trip started.

The feeling everywhere was that the Mets needed another starting pitcher. Everyone close to the situation were barking for the Mets to trade for a Ted Lilly or Dan Haren, and not too many of those people cried for hitting.

The sentiment was that the Mets have no room for another bat. That’s true. The Mets are filled virtually everywhere, and the only possible place to add a bat would be right field.

That’s if you don’t think Angel Pagan is capable of being the right fielder for the future, which scouts would disagree with. Scouts predict Pagan to be an outfielder with an above-average arm, and a bat capable of hitting around .290. That’s not bad for a once backup on another team.

So, what the Mets did was wait an extra week and a half. As usual, the Mets weren’t aggressive at the deadline.

They felt in Spring Training that they had enough pitching. John Maine is out for the season, having undergone shoulder surgery last week, and Oliver Perez has been rumored to be on his way to Kansas City.

Now, it’s too late. The Mets are 7.5 games behind in the NL East, and six games back in the NL Wild Card race, with the Marlins on their heels.

Let’s break this down from both sides. If the Mets were to trade for a pitcher, it wouldn’t matter based on the recent lack of hitting. If the Mets trade for a hitter, they’re still going with Hisanori Takahashi in the rotation along with more question marks concerning Mike Pelfrey.

Now, you say, “Why did we need a pitcher then if we had no hitting?” Well, we didn’t know the Mets weren’t going to hit, and now you can’t trade for both a pitcher and a hitter.

It’s just a major mess for the Mets right now. They put themselves in a position to fail, and now are paying for it by fading off into oblivion.

Their crosstown rivals are rolling in the Bronx, and football season is right around the corner.

So, what would fans have wanted to see today? A coach, if not manager, get fired. What did the Mets do? Nothing.

That’s right, nothing, after a 2-9 road trip for a team playing in baseball’s biggest market. Nothing, after having today off at home, the perfect day to cut someone loose.

Someone had to pay. Would it make a major difference? No, maybe not. But it would’ve shown that the Mets care about winning, and are not satisfied with batting .195 as a team over the most crucial 11 games of the season.

Yet, they decided to shrug their shoulders and welcome in the first-place Cardinals on Tuesday.

Now, that’s a nice way to treat your fanbase that won’t show up this week. Tickets are still available to the Mets Hall of Fame ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

Does anyone care about that? Those guys (Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson) won their ring in 1986.

Will this team ever come close? Not with the attitude of their current front office. They missed the boat today, and always will.

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