Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is on record: "I think far more important in [whether or not the Mets will trade Carlos Beltran] will be realistically how we play over the next week, two weeks, three weeks, and how the season develops."
So: How "realistic" are the Mets' playoff hopes, anyway? Let's take a look.
We're not gonna be lazy like we usually are and just refer you to Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds Report to tell you what the Mets' chances are. (2.8 percent, by the way.) We're gonna see, legitimately, what record the Mets have to finish with to make the playoffs.
One immediate caveat: The Mets are not catching the Phillies. BP gives them a 0.2 percent chance of winning the NL East, which is roughly four times less likely to happen than the Dodgers (currently 41–51) making the playoffs. Not happening. So we're going to deal exclusively with the Mets' wild-card chances. (Even if the Mets sweep the Phillies this weekend, they're still eight games behind.)
Currently the Mets are fifth in the wild-card chase, behind Atlanta, Arizona, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh. They're also only a half-game up on Washington, one and a half up on Cincinnati and two and a half up on Colorado and Florida. (St. Louis is only a half-game up on Milwaukee, so the Cardinals are essentially in this, too.) Of course, all these teams are pretty far behind Atlanta: The Braves are five up on the "wild-card second place" Diamondbacks, and seven and a half up on the Mets.
So, let's ignore those eight other teams for just a second and deal with Atlanta. If the Braves play at the .587 pace they have played so far the rest of the season (essentially making them 95–67), to catch them, the Mets will have to go 49–22 the rest of the year. That's roughly the pace of the 1998 Yankees. If the Braves were to fall back to the pack and, say, play .500 ball the rest of the year (which is of course quite unlikely), that'd make them 89–73. The Mets would merely have to go 43–28; that's still a 98-wins-over-a-full-season pace.
And, obviously, you can't actually ignore the other eight teams, all of whom will be surely adding players to their contending teams in a way that the Mets won't be. (It would certainly be strange for the Mets to suddenly become buyers.) So even if the Mets go 49–22, they'll have to make sure the Diamondbacks or Brewers or Reds or anyone else don't get hot either. Also, remember, that 95 wins is just to tie the Braves in this hypothetical scenario. There is no margin for error.
Also, the Mets will be doing this without Jose Reyes, Ike Davis, and (for another week anyway, maybe more) David Wright. We suppose it is possible that the Mets could pull this off. But it's a heckuva lot more likely you'll see Carlos Beltran in a Giants jersey in a fortnight. But, for the sake of fun: If you would like, starting tonight, you can count Mets' losses until they get to 21, which is what we're calling their acceptable loss number to have a chance. We bet Beltran is long, long gone by the time you get halfway there, though.