Maintaining appearances

The Mets are at least going to give the appearance that they are trying to reach the playoffs this season, especially with the team playing scrappy baseball under Terry Collins, and probably wouldn’t deal K-Rod until close to the July 31 trading deadline.

John Harper, N.Y. Daily News.

First, I guess the Mets are kind of playing “scrappy” baseball, huh? Generally, when used to describe a specific player, “scrappy” is synonymous with “bad,” but I suppose it’s a reasonable way to characterize a club that scores a bunch of runs without often hitting home runs. Plus they’ve been playing good defense and getting solid pitching performances (the bullpen notably excepted) from a bunch of guys without overwhelming stuff. So yeah, all signs point to scrappy.

Dammit. Don’t get me wrong: Wins are the most important thing, but I miss home runs and Johan Santana.

Second, the time for assessing the Mets’ ability to contend hasn’t come yet, but I imagine if they’re really in it, they won’t just be maintaining the appearance that they’re trying to make the playoffs but actually trying to make the playoffs. And I know they’ve got financial limitations, motivation to trade a bunch of their players and some reasons to believe the starting pitching won’t hold up as well as it has so far.

But right now, even sitting in fourth place in their division, there’s still plenty of time for the Mets to assert themselves as a legit contender — as odd as that may seem to anyone who read even a single published report about the club in April. They’re winning games without Santana, David Wright and Ike Davis, and they’re hoping to get all three back before the trading deadline.

If all that crumbles, then Sandy Alderson and his crew can get about forgoing appearances and focus on improving the club’s future.

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