The New York Mets have been the butt of jokes for a number of years now when it comes to making moves to improve the ball club. A sense of reluctance and ongoing stubbornness from both General Manager Sandy Alderson and ownership has soured things in Flushing for far too long.
Then this weekend things began to change -- believe it or not. The Mets made a rare deal with division rival, Atlanta to acquire aging veterans Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson for two low level minor league prospects in John Gant and Rob Whalen. The move is both a smart one and cost saving for a team obsessed with pinching pennies.
Uribe, 36, is owed only $6.5 million in the final year of his contract, which is this year. Johnson, 33, is owned only $1.5 million.
For Uribe the Mets are the third team he will play for this year, as he came onto his new team hitting .272 with eight homers and 23 RBI. Johnson, who is mostly a utility guy at this point in his career is hitting .275 with nine home runs and 34 RBI.
Those are numbers that normally wouldn't jump off the page, but with the Mets they are. The moves allowed New York to dumb John Mayb
erry Jr. who was a total bust this season, and they sent struggling Danny Muno back to the minors where he belongs.
The Mets have been an awful baseball team to watch this season, ranked last or near last in most offensive categories, so a move, even like this one, is a good one.
Already both Uribe and Johnson are paying dividends with their new team. Uribe had a game winning RBI hit against the Dodgers on Sunday. He's hitting .500 (2-for-4) since the trade. Johnson is hitting .222, but in nine at bats, Johnson does have a home run for the Mets.
But here is the question the Mets have to ask themselves, is it enough? Most certainly not. When Uribe and Johnson are two veteran major league hitters, neither one is a savior. Uribe is 36. His best days are long, long, long behind him. He hasn't driven in 60 in a season since 2010, and has been a part time player for a better part of the past four years.
Johnson is as light hitting as they come with a career .251 batting average. There is a reason why he has been on seven different teams, including the Yankees, and hasn't stuck anywhere he has been. When given the chance to play everyday, Johnson does have some power. He hit 26 home runs in 2010 with the Braves, and 18 homers in 2011 with the Diamondbacks, but that's about it. He's a part time player himself.
The Mets cannot rest. There are rumors the team is interested in reliever Tyler Clipard of the A's and Yoneis Cespedis of the Tigers. Interest is great, getting it done is even better. It's nice that the Mets are in the thick of July 31 trade rumors, but if this organization is going to be taken seriously down the stretch they need to complete a truly major splash before the deadline comes and goes.