2 reasons the Mets will finish above .500, 2 reasons they will finish below

The Mets have played .500 baseball in their first 36 games. Will they end the year over or under the even mark?
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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The Mets will not finish above .500 they’ll sell at the trade deadline

The line of demarcation comes at the MLB trade deadline. Play well enough beforehand and maybe you’ll be able to play even better after. Show your weaknesses too early and the front office will have enough reasons to sell rather than buy.

The way the Mets set themselves up for 2024 was much closer to seller’s mode. Short term deals added to the books plus no long term extensions put them in the perfect position to be one of the league’s biggest sellers. The only players off-limits are the ones with contracts no one would take.

Where the Mets are in the standings when the trade deadline pops up will have the most to say about their ultimate fate. As positive as many are about the future of the ball club, they aren’t going to be a team that is necessarily better with addition by subtraction. The farm system is promising but there aren’t a bunch of white knights about to ride up midseason to save them. This is a process intended to take longer than one year. It’s about the major league players with maybe a small number of rookies to make a cameo.

A reason the Mets are far more likely to sell at the trade deadline than buy is because the hesitance in the past to add big names mid-year. They could conceivably buy lightly if there’s no question they’re capable of contending. However, to trade away any prospects of note for players who won’t make a big enough difference is wasteful. The best we can probably hope for is a repeat of the 2022 trade deadline when the Mets held too tightly to their prospects and brought in several guys we’d all like to erase from our memories.

Where will David Stearns draw the line this year? Four games against the Atlanta Braves leading into the trade deadline could make or break the direction they ultimately go. Last year’s club was five games under .500 when they traded David Robertson to officially wave the white flag. They’d fall even further below the .500 mark by the end of the season.