This is how bad it’s gotten

I’ve been watching Mets games with a different mindset for a few weeks now. Even before Carlos Beltran went on the disabled list on June 22, I was beginning to think of this team as a hobbled M*A*S*H unit, not a playoff contender. When Beltran went down, I shifted fully into that mode.

This recent series with the Nationals confirms it. That would be the last-place Nationals. Worst-record-in-baseball Nationals. Terrible-bullpen-horrible-defense Nationals.

The Nationals won two out of three.

The scoring differential was just two runs — 9-7, Washington — as was the hits — 20-18, New York. The Mets made two errors to the Nationals’ one. Yet the Mets were shut out in the second game, 4-0, despite getting seven hits and allowing four. When your core lineup is down to one man — David Wright — or two if you want to extend it to the veteran Luis Castillo, you can’t look at this team as a contender. Any fan or front-office executive who thinks that way is nuts.

For months now, the Mets have been the owners of the National League’s highest payroll in 40-man-roster speak only. Of New York’s $149,373,987 payroll, 29 percent belongs to disabled All-Stars Carlos Beltran ($19,243,682), Carlos Delgado ($12,000,000), Jose Reyes ($6,125,000) and J.J. Putz ($6,000,000). I could count Billy Wagner ($10,500,000) to make it 36.1 percent, but his absence has been expected (and resulted in the acquisitions of Putz and Frankie Rodriguez).

So now we get to this recent series. Washington’s $60,328,000 payroll is 40.4 percent of the Mets’. But as I thought about what the Mets were missing, I was curious as to how the actual lineups in the games represented the teams’ season payroll.

Team ’09 payroll 20-Jul 21-Jul 22-Jul Average Pct.
Mets $149,373,987 $38,426,166 $35,660,500 $31,397,000 $35,161,222 23.5
Nationals $60,328,000 $36,911,500 $38,955,500 $44,386,500 $40,084,500 66.4

So while the Nationals’ season payroll is 40 percent of the Mets’, in this series, they had 66 percent of their payroll participate, while the Mets had 23.5 percent.

And the Mets played like it, as I’m sure they will until some of these guys start coming back.

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