MLB Trade Deadline: New York Mets Should Pursue Justin Upton

Ted LeeCorrespondent IJuly 8, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 07:  Justin Upton #10 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up on deck during the MLB game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field on July 7, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

At 46-39 and just 4.5 games back from the Washington Nationals, the Mets are looking like real contenders going into the All-Star break. 

Expected to be the laughing stock of the NL East this year, the Mets have won the hearts and attention of their fans, with a certain atmosphere around their team that hasn't been around since 2006. 

Do not overlook the team for what it is though, simply an overachieving team that is not ready for the playoffs even if it made it. 

After a torrid start to the season, outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been suffering from the rookie slump, going .238 in June after going .293 in the first two months. His struggles lie against lefty pitchers, only batting .167 against them. 

Lucas Duda is putting up good power numbers for only his second year with 12 home runs, but with a batting average of just .249, Duda struggles often.

While these two are key reasons to the Mets success, they both may be reasons if they fail to make the playoffs, with their struggling bats and high strikeout total (169 combined). 

Injured left-fielder Jason Bay has shown he isn't the right player to play in New York, struggling his whole time in a Mets uniform as well as failing to stay on the field consistently. And as good as Scott Hairston has been (12 home runs), the Mets still need a solid outfielder that can play everyday on a top level. The Mets lack that intimidation factor every top team has, with the only big threat in the lineup being David Wright.

With news that the Arizona Diamondbacks are listening to offers for outfielder Justin Upton, this can be the Mets' chance to make some noise and acquire a player that will make their team an actual threat. While he hasn't played as well as last year, Upton is still an All-Star that has had playoff experience. His 31 home runs from last year are also proof that he is a viable power threat.

With Upton available the Mets will most likely have to give up some prospects as well as one of their outfielders, which will come down to Nieuwenhuis or Duda. As much as they have captured the hearts of many fans, the Mets can't keep both of them for long. One fails to hit lefties, while another fails to be the consistent threat many people predicted going into the season.

The Mets must make a change to become better and be a legitimate threat in the NL East. With Justin Upton available, the Mets have the potential to become just that and more.