This past week has been very busy for the New York Mets, who made multiple trades to bolster both the offense and bullpen, before the announcement of losing reliever Jenrry Mejia for the next 162 games due to suspension of performance-enhancing drugs. The additions of utility players Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, and reliever Tyler Clippard as rental players will hopefully jettison the Mets towards the playoffs. But the next two months will decide if these short term stints end up being worth their cost.
On Friday, July 24th the Mets opened their trade deadline wheeling and dealing, making a move to bring in both Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the division rival Atlanta Braves in return for minor league pitchers Rob Whalen and John Gant. The Mets’ offensive struggle has been well documented as they are close to the bottom in On-Base Percentage, Slugging, and BABIP.
In return, the Mets were getting two players, who are both in their final years of their contracts but are expected to be able to be key contributors towards the season as the Mets make a run for the playoffs. Both Uribe and Johnson have played better than the Mets offense in terms of the same key statistics making them upgrades to a team that has struggled to score runs. (The Mets have given up the 3rd fewest runs in Major League Baseball and have the 6th lowest FIP and 8th lowest xFIP.)
The Mets have lost by 16 games by only one run, so any addition of a bat is useful. In return the Mets only gave up young prospects that Kylie McDaniel thought could be either league average starters or relievers in a few years.
Both are solid 40-45 FV guys, likely MLB contributors in a 1-2 years, could both be (upside) league avg starters or (downside) long/setup RP
— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) July 25, 2015
The other acquisition made by the New York Mets was receiving relief pitcher Tyler Clippard from the Oakland Athletics for prospect Casey Meisner. Clippard pitched decently for the Oakland Athletics and there is no doubt the Mets needed a relief pitcher. However, a quick look at his stats shows how much his performance has deteriorated from last year to this year. What particularly stands out is his high xFIP of 5.31 this year compared to last year’s of 3.28, which is most likely driven by his extremely low BABIP of 0.214 and BB/9 rate increasing by 66%. However, he will play a larger role than even expected with the suspension of Jenrry Mejia for 162 games (only the second player to be suspended for a full season, along with Alex Rodriguez).
In return the Mets gave up Casey Meisner, a former 3rd Round pick out of the 2013 draft, who has had a strong showing in Single A in both the FSL, playing for Port St. Lucie, and the SAL, playing for the Savannah Sand Gnats. Right now the expectation is that he will end up as a back of the rotation or as a reliever, but there is still plenty of upside as he has been one of the best Mets prospects in the minors this year.
The impact of these trades is clear. Baseball Prospectus, on its website, loves the trades the Mets have made, boosting them from a 29% chance to make the playoffs all the way to a 49% chance. Only the actions by the Mets on the field will tell if it can help them at least make the Wild Card game, but these acquisitions should at least help.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.com and BaseballProspectus.comNext post: Cole Hamels Trade: Jon Daniels’s New Ace and Ruben Amaro’s Old-Fashioned Gamble
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