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Seasons That Simply Are

Well, the Mets finally got that big hit.

Neil Walker [1], looking like April’s Neil Walker, crashed a three-run homer into the seats in the seventh inning Sunday, saving the Mets [2] from a four-game losing streak, a season sweep at the hands of the Rockies, and an extra topping of misery and angst ahead of the Subway Series. (This? Now? Why, God, why?)

Walker couldn’t get a win for Noah Syndergaard [3], who labored through nearly 120 pitches, though he did set the stage for another terrific outing from Addison Reed [4] and an infinitely more reassuring one from Jeurys Familia [5], whose sinker looked a lot better than it did earlier this week. (Familia also had a lot better luck, which always helps.)

Walker also couldn’t do anything for poor Asdrubal Cabrera [6], who wound up hopping home when his patellar tendon betrayed him, redirecting him to the disabled list. Cabrera had been the Mets’ most reliable offensive player and a soothing, steadying presence at shortstop, but it’s 2016, so of course now there’s another hole stove in the bottom of the boat.

So now the Mets come to August 1 and the trade deadline. What should they do? They’re 6 1/2 games behind a Nationals team that looks a lot more imposing and a lot better led than last year’s model, and they’re 2 1/2 games behind the irritating Marlins for the second wild-card spot, with the Cardinals in their way and the Pirates and Rockies uncomfortably close behind them. As I type this, rumors are flying that Jay Bruce [7] is coming.

Should he?

As with any trade proposal, that’s hard to answer in a vacuum. For what? If the price is Antonio Bastardo [8], Ray Ramirez and the costumes used in the pathetic Citi Field car race, excuse me, I’ve got to help some guys pack. Somehow I don’t think that’s the offer the Reds are considering, though.

Personally, if I were the Mets I’d sell … except they have nothing to sell that they wouldn’t be better off keeping. Maybe you could quickly turn around Neil Walker before his latest hot streak dissipates, but Yoenis Cespedes [9] is playing on one leg, Cabrera just went down and nobody’s taking Curtis Granderson [10] off our hands. I’d be reluctant to part with Travis d’Arnaud [11], whose lengthy injury record strikes me as more the product of terrible luck than anything else. (You may see TdA differently. That’s fine.) That leaves … Bartolo Colon [12]? Reed? You’re not getting any sort of royal ransom back for them — we’re in the realm of lottery tickets and middling Double-A prospects here.

That leaves the Mets standing pat, which seems like a disappointing answer but may also be the right one. At the end of last July they needed another bat to take the pressure off their stellar pitching. Now they need a lot more than one bat, that stellar pitching’s been degraded through mileage and mischance into merely very good pitching, and the guy on the trading block is a lumbering corner outfielder — a commodity they’ve got in excess.

There’s also the danger that the giddy run of 2015 makes us believe in mirages. A year ago, Cespedes and then Daniel Murphy [13] became the hottest hitters on the planet for six weeks while the Nationals imploded. I don’t see that happening again. I don’t see us catching the Nats and I don’t think we’re better than the wild-card competition. Plus last year the Mets had a number of minor-league arms stockpiled and a log jam at the big-league level. They dealt from a strength, as they should have, but no such surplus exists any longer.

I’d punt this season. Sell what you can from the pool of Walker, Reed and Colon and start looking at the future. Put Wilmer Flores [14] at third and treat him like what he almost certainly will wind up being, which is your 2017 third baseman. Quit jerking Michael Conforto [15] in and out of the lineup and let him play every day. Get Dilson Herrera [16] up here to play. Take a look at Brandon Nimmo [17]. Leave Matt Reynolds [18] alone at short, or bring up Gavin Cecchini [19] and leave him alone at short.

Baseball seasons can be heroic epics, tragedies or farces. But sometimes they’re just baseball seasons. That happens too, and it’s OK — provided you don’t damage your own cause pretending otherwise.