The second half of the season is here for the Mets, whose season will be defined by the next 2 1/2 weeks. Most likely, they will sell off key parts of the roster, looking ahead to 2018. But for a team that completed unlikely runs to the postseason in each of the past two summers, anything still seems possible.
Before the post-All-Star break festivities begin, let's pause for another round of questions and answers:
How quickly do the Mets become sellers? What kind of return can we expect for players like Asdrubal Cabrera, Jay Bruce, Neil Walker and anyone else?
-- @mergesort via Twitter
It's not really a matter of the Mets making a decision to sell; they've already done that, to an extent. The Mets simply need the trade market to develop, as rival clubs decide whether or not they are contenders. That generally starts happening right around now.
Barring a miracle run over the next week -- and I'm talking series sweeps of the Rockies and Cardinals, or at least something close to that -- the Mets will sell off some of their veteran assets. This won't be a true fire sale, by any means. But anyone likely to be gone after the season should hit the market, including key prizes Bruce and Addison Reed.
What can the Mets get? For most of these players, not a ton. This will be about volume for the Mets, who have a chance to acquire a host of mid-level prospects in exchange for players about to hit free agency. The next few weeks won't change the fabric of their entire farm. But the Mets should improve the look of a farm system that features little depth beyond Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith.
Is there a realistic possibility of a Jacob deGrom trade?
-- @TheRealPJClark via Twitter
That would be a difficult one for the Mets to swallow. Trading deGrom would essentially be admitting that the team will not compete in 2018, and they're definitely not in that state of mind.
From a baseball operations perspective, there is some merit to a trade. The Mets aren't likely ever to lock up deGrom, who won't hit free agency until age 33, to a long-term deal. Trading him to a prospect-rich club such as the Cubs or Astros would probably do more for their farm system than deals of Reed, Bruce and Cabrera combined.
I just don't see the Mets taking that leap. deGrom is too valuable for what the Mets hope to achieve in coming seasons.
Bigger Mets All-Star snub: Bruce (23 home runs, 59 RBI) or deGrom (9-3; 5-0 in his last five starts)?
-- @Smoove_Vic via Twitter
I'm not sure I'd call either a snub, as both were merely borderline All-Stars. It's no knock on deGrom to say that the Dodgers' Alex Wood, who was an roster replacement for teammate Clayton Kershaw, deserved the nod. Bruce's absence was a bit more surprising to me, only because I thought he'd be the Mets' representative instead of Michael Conforto -- not in addition to him.
I do know that deGrom, who was born and raised in Florida, was holding out hope until the end that he might make the team. He and Bruce both genuinely wanted to attend.
Can you see any circumstances under which Bruce gets a multiyear contract with the Mets?
-- @kathy_bruni via Twitter
I could see it, yes. Neither Juan Lagares nor Brandon Nimmo profile as starting outfielders in 2018, so with Bruce and Curtis Granderson set to become free agents this winter, the Mets will seek help on the open market. Ideally, that will come in the form of an everyday center fielder, but those are few and far between. As such, the Mets might look to keep Conforto in center and search for a corner outfielder. Why not Bruce?
It would even make sense to explore an in-season extension. But at age 30, Bruce has earned the right to test free agency for the first time in his career. He'll almost certainly take it.
Will the Mets extend general manager Sandy Alderson?
-- @vtlptp via Twitter
When MLB.com's Mark Feinsand asked about Alderson's future earlier this year, the 69-year-old GM -- whose contract expires after this year -- replied:
"A lot of people at my age say they want to retire so they can spend more time with their grandchildren. Well, one of the reasons I took this job is because my grandchildren live in New Jersey. So I get to see them -- and they've probably seen just about enough of me, is my guess. So I'm going to have to search for another reason to retire."
That vagueness is typical of Alderson when asked how long he wants to stay in an executive role. My hunch is that he does for at least a bit longer. And if that's the case, I believe the Mets will let him.
Given our current status, if Noah Syndergaard is ready to return this year, do you think the Mets should just wait until next year to bring him back?
-- @Vgiacalone11 via Twitter
I don't, actually. Syndergaard's lat injury is a soft tissue tear, not a joint or ligament problem. Assuming he's ready to go before the end of the season, there's no harm -- actually, there's quite a bit of benefit -- in letting him log some innings down the stretch.
That's not necessarily true for Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. The former could probably use as much time as possible to heal from his shoulder woes, while the latter is piling up innings in his season back from Tommy John surgery. If the Mets fall out of contention, it would make sense to shut Wheeler down at some point, and to prevent Harvey from returning unless he's clearly 100 percent healthy.
Obligatory Tim Tebow question! He's hitting over .300 at Class A St. Lucie. Any chance he gets to Double-A?
-- @wcrickards via Twitter
Even if you're among those who don't believe Tebow's promotion from Class A Columbia to Class A Advanced St. Lucie was warranted, it's fair to say he has surpassed most expectations in his first professional season. Tebow is beyond the point where anything surprises me. If the Mets want to keep bumping him up the ladder, I'll shrug my shoulders, fire up my laptop and write the story.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.