NEW YORK -- General manager Sandy Alderson reassured reporters last week that the Mets would certainly be buyers at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
How things have changed.
"You've got to be realistic and take into account where you are from day to day," Alderson said. The Mets are 1-8 since the All-Star break, and Sunday's 12th-inning loss to the Dodgers dipped them below .500 for the first time all season.
"We're certainly not in the same position today that we were four, five days ago," he continued. "That doesn't mean we're sellers, but I'd say right now that we're exploring a lot of different scenarios."
The Mets' needs are obvious -- New York's bullpen has the worst ERA in the Majors and the team is left with just two members of its Opening Day starting rotation. Top pitching prospect Matt Harvey will make his Major League debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, but Alderson knows that one arm won't turn around a season that has so quickly spiraled out of control.
"We'll see whether it's important for us to invest more heavily in 2012," he said. "I don't think we want to invest too heavily in '13 or '14 to the significant detriment of 2012.
"It's important for us to win games. We're trying to change the perception here, and part of that is actually winning games, which we realize. So if we were to make a trade, we would want to make sure that it made sense -- not just in terms of acquiring additional talent, but also taking into account the importance of the balance of this year."
Though unexpected, New York's post-All-Star-break slump isn't entirely shocking -- the team lost Dillon Gee to likely season-ending surgery over the break, and ace Johan Santana's ankle injury culminated in sub-par outings. With a new playoff format to include a second Wild Card team, New York hasn't jumped ship on 2012, but Alderson's original self-labeling of the Mets as buyers has seemingly shifted into a holding pattern.
"You can make deals that aren't blockbusters that are going to really improve you significantly for the remainder of this year, but set you up nicely -- in some way -- for the following year."
Tejada OK after getting spiked during key error
NEW YORK -- Ruben Tejada took a cleat to the right shin in the 10th inning of New York's 8-2 loss to Washington on Monday.
The shortstop went down for a few minutes, then walked it off and remained in the game. Two sizeable gashes in his shin were noticeable when he lowered his sock following the incident.
Tejada was hit by Roger Bernadina, who led off the inning with a single and was sliding into second after Sandy Leon hit a grounder to the mound in the ensuing at-bat. Mets reliever Tim Byrdak made a solid throw to second base, but Tejada dropped it -- he was charged with an error -- and was unable to avoid the attempted double-play-preventing slide.
Tejada said after the game that he felt sore, but that no stitches would be necessary. He said he would re-evaluate Tuesday morning, but was confident he wouldn't need to miss any time.
Manager Terry Collins said that Tejada will likely be given the day off on Tuesday following the injury.
Francisco's rehab delayed after knee discomfort
NEW YORK -- Mets closer Frank Francisco, who has been on the disabled list since June 23 with a strained left oblique, will not begin a rehab assignment with Class A Brooklyn on Tuesday, as originally planned.
The Mets announced late Monday that Francisco is feeling discomfort in his right knee and that he received a shot, which pushes his date for a rehab outing to at least Wednesday.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Monday that Francisco will likely make two rehab outings and then be reevaluated after his second outing, adding that he is optimistic that "he'll be pretty close" by that point.
Francisco said that he has no specific goals for the rehab assignment, other than making sure his lingering strain won't act up. He threw a 40-pitch bullpen session at Citi Field on Sunday and said afterward that he felt no soreness in the oblique.
"See if I can hit my spot, that's it," Francisco said of the assignment. "That's the only thing I'm going to try to do, is hit my spot."
Mike Baxter is also moving closer to a return to the Mets as his rehabilitation moved to Triple-A Buffalo on Monday. Baxter displaced his right collarbone when he crashed into the outfield wall on June 1 to preserve Johan Santana's then no-hit bid.
Baxter served only as a DH in games with Class A St. Lucie last week, but played left field on Sunday with Double-A Binghamton.
Manager Terry Collins said he is still unsure whether or not Baxter will join the team in Arizona later this week.
Snooki pledges allegiance to Mets at Citi
NEW YORK -- Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi -- star of MTV's "Jersey Shore" -- took a break from her normal "gym, tan, laundry" routine on Monday to see the Mets take on Washington at Citi Field.
Snooki -- who is pregnant with her first child -- and her fiance Jionni LaValle, posed for photos on the field before meeting David Wright in the dugout prior to Monday's game.
"I was obsessed in the early 2000s when we had [Bobby] Valentine," said Snooki, a devoted Mets fan. "I loved [John] Franco, Robin Ventura, all of them. I was obsessed."
Snooki said her and LaValle made it to one game at Citi Field last season, but admitted that as a child she was a regular at Shea Stadium.
As for her feelings about the Mets' post All-Star Game slump?
"I always think they have a chance," she said. "I feel like that's the thing about the Mets fans: they always believe that they're going to turn it around and do good, and sometimes they don't, but I'll still be a Mets fan no matter what."
Adam Rosenbloom is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.