Basically, the Mets moving to 44-42 on the season has made the team "relevant" and means that the next two weeks before the deadline are crucial for Alderson's decision of whether to trade off pieces or trade because they're contenders. He says that if the team can keep it together over the next dozen or so games, he "owes it to them to keep it intact" according to ESPN NY's Adam Rubin.
And even though it's July, Alderson said it's too early to have serious discussions with potential trade partners at this point.
"First of all, there's a question of our direction and making that determination internally," Alderson said. "But to actually do anything, if you're referring to trades, requires more than one party. And even though we're in July, it's still a little bit early for most clubs to fully engage in serious trade discussions. Whether we want to do something or not, it may not be an option for us at this point."
Either way, it seems as if July 31 -- "a bright line, if you will" -- is the date (or at least near it) the Mets will really be making moves, or sticking with the current team. Alderson believes there is no real advantage to moving players now, as opposed to waiting out up until the deadline.
And if the Mets do stay in contention over the next two weeks, they do theoretically have Johan Santana in their back pockets. Alderson still considers Santana as someone who will pitch this season, but not someone who will be a true "contributor." He thinks it will be a "progression" toward pitching in 2012.
"We look at Johan as someone who should pitch this year, if he can," Alderson said as quoted by Metsblog.com.
Here's my gut reaction: Alderson looks around for trade partners regardless of the way the Mets play (unless is 12-0), but if they Mets play .500 or better he will be more stingy when it comes to a possible deal. If they fall to under .500 on the season before the deadline, Alderson will pursue every potential avenue for a trade.