Late last month , when the New York Mets were on the road, a display case at Citi Field went up in flames.

Just like their 2018 season.

Nobody got hurt in the fire, which was extinguished by an automatic sprinkler system, and damage was minimal, according to the team.

If only it were that simple to fix the product on the field.

With the Mets sinking fast toward the bottom of the National League standings, baseball operations were turned over Tuesday to a trio of Sandy Aldersons assistants as the 70-year-old general manager made the stunning announcement that he was stepping down because his cancer has returned.

John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya have decades of front office experience between them, both in New York and elsewhere around the majors. But it might take all three to clean up this mess, and time is of the essence.

Were well below our expectations, from ownership on down, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. Talk to the baseball department, talk to the scouting department Jersey:// Jersey , talk to the development department, coaches, the players nobody expected to be in this position.

Aldersons indefinite leave of absence comes at a critical juncture for the languishing Mets (32-46) ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.

Needing to accrue young talent, theyll probably try to sell off pending free agents such as shaky closer Jeurys Familia and switch-hitting second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera for whatever they can get.

But ace pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard could fetch an enormous return, and the club must decide whether to undertake such a sweeping overhaul at this stage without a general manager in place.

Were going to talk about that. We just kind of got into this, Ricco told reporters Wednesday. For me, everything has to be on the table. But youve got to look long and hard before you move a game-changing, top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

Even with last seasons 70-92 finish in mind, Ricco didnt sound as though a total tear-down was likely. At least not yet.

So how do the aging Mets, not even two years removed from consecutive playoff appearances, re-energize their injury-prone team and turn it around?

The offense is stagnant. The defense is deplorable at times. The bullpen has been horrendous since New Yorks 12-2 start and requires a complete rebuild next year.

Due in large part to leg injuries and a hip problem that Alderson called somewhat chronic, slugger Yoenis Cespedes has played in less than half of the Mets games since signing a $110 million Noah Fant Jersey , four-year contract in November 2016. He has a no-trade clause and almost certainly isnt going anywhere. New York needs to figure out how to get him back in the lineup.

Banged-up right fielder Jay Bruce, also in his 30s and sidelined by a hip injury, is batting .212 with three home runs, 17 RBIs and a paltry .613 OPS in the first season of a $39 million, three-year deal.

Touted prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith have flopped at the plate so far.

Thats what weve been charged with: improving this club, Ricco said. Obviously, the trade deadline is coming up and thats a big pressure point in which to better your club, and certainly we are going to take advantage of that and look to be active.

Syndergaard, like several Mets stars, is on the disabled list again with a strained ligament in his index finger but could be back next month. The 25-year-old right-hander cant become a free agent until after the 2021 season.

As for deGrom, he just turned 30 and leads the majors with a 1.69 ERA going into Friday nights scheduled start at last-place Miami. Still a salary bargain relative to his brilliant performance, deGrom is under club control through the 2020 season.

Both pitchers were instrumental in leading New York to the 2015 World Series.

We know what we have in those two , Alderson said last week. At the same time, you never say never.

In the end, maybe the Mets will choose instead to shop mid-rotation starters Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz. Both are fully healthy for the first time in years, and their stuff looks crisp.

Of course, New York could simply wait until the winter to settle on a strategy perhaps after a new GM has been hired.

Regardless of what happens over the next few months, it appears the team plans to conduct a search that includes external candidates at the end of the season.

That also might affect the status of first-year manager Mickey Callaway, hired by Alderson last fall.

So many questions. No easy answers.

Alderson said his prognosis is good but he doesnt expect to be back on the job at any point, partly because his health is uncertain but also because hes not sure it would be warranted.

Whoever winds up in charge, if they keep deGrom and Syndergaard, the Mets maintain at least the foundation of a potentially competitive squad for the next two years, provided Cespedes and some other key pieces finally manage to stay healthy.

But the team might also be bypassing an opportunity to trade deGrom at peak value, running the risk that he or Syndergaard will get seriously injured before those chips are cashed.

And then theres this tricky little complication: One of the October contenders in hot pursuit of top-notch starting pitching is the New York Yankees.

With a stocked farm system Drew Lock Jersey , they could be a perfect trade partner for the Mets a buzzy topic thats generated plenty of fodder for sports-talk radio in New York.

Colin Kaepernicks NFL journey has been a roller coaster of highs and lows. After wresting the starting job from Alex Smith in 2012 and leading San Francisco to the cusp of a Super Bowl victory, Kaepernick has seen his fortunes do a 180. After struggling to maintain his spot on the field the last two years, the once promising star opted out of his contract. He currently stands on the outside looking in. Normally this might not be a huge story. Instead, Kaepernicks decision to take a knee during the National Anthem last year has catapulted his plight to the forefront of the dead period between free agency and the NFL Draft.Identifying the reasoning behind Kaepernicks inability to land a contract has polarized fan bases. Its a volatile situation with a multitude of factors. Extreme opinions exist on both sides of the spectrum. Somewhere in the middle, however, statistics and business make for a less combative evaluation. This article will aim to stay there.The numbers against Kaepernick are relatively simple. He completed 59.2% of his passes last season. Thats good for 26th in the league also known as 1.7% less than Case Keenum (currently unsigned) and only 0.2% more than Brock Osweiller (traded to the Browns for nothing). He also finished 23rd in QBR with a 55.2. Kaepernick is reportedly seeking $9-10 million dollars a year. It doesnt add up. Even before the controversy, Kaepernick lost his starting job to Blaine Gabbert in 2015. Blaine Gabbert. Thats not easy to do.Those in the quarterbacks corner also have numbers at their disposal. He threw 16 touchdowns to four interceptions in 2016. Its a solid ratio that showcases his ball security through the air. Regardless of the leagues adjustments, Kaepernick remains a dual threat (468 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 2016). He also manned his team to one Super Bowl appearance and two NFC Championship Games. Not many quarterbacks who do that in five years as a starter find themselves out of a job, especially when unknown commodities like Mike Glennon are receiving $45 million deals. There is more than enough evidence to cry foul.Ultimately, everything comes down to business. Are there owners and GMs out there who view Kaepernick as a player who can provide them with starting caliber play or needed depth for an agreed upon price. Hes undeniably one of the top 64 (first and second string) quarterbacks in the league. Thats a categorical fact. His price must come down, and eventually it will. Which teams will be there with offers when it does? Which organizations wont even consider him? Keep reading below and feel free to comment with other possibilities.