The Mets strengthened their lineup this week by welcoming catcher Travis d’Arnaud back from the disabled list and acquiring slugger Yoenis Cespedes before the trade deadline. More help could be on the way soon.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, third baseman David Wright will travel with the Mets for their upcoming series against the Marlins in Miami before being eased into minor league rehab games with High-A St. Lucie later in the week.
This is great news for Wright, who originally landed on the disabled list in mid-April with a strained right hamstring. The 32-year-old soon began dealing with lower back pain and was eventually diagnosed with spinal stenosis. His status has been in question since, but he has been doing baseball activities this week at Citi Field. Obviously game action will be the real test, but it’s conceivable that he could rejoin the Mets’ lineup later this month if all goes well.
Daniel Murphy and the recently-acquired Juan Uribe are currently handling third base duties for New York.
The Mets bolstered their infield on Friday evening, acquiring Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson in a trade with the Braves. It cost them two minor leaguers and the money it’ll cost to pay both players through the end of the year (approximately $2.7 million).
The deal isn’t exactly a blockbuster, and it’s certainly not the type of trade that will satiate the Mets’ harsher critics, but it should still end up making a positive difference. Uribe will cover third base while David Wright is on the mend with his back injury, and has the ability to shift to another position — second base or shortstop — once he returns. Uribe could be part of a platoon, perhaps with Daniel Murphy at second base, or would be a useful bench bat. Johnson can play first, second, and third base as well as both corner outfield positions. Wilmer Flores could return to shortstop with Ruben Tejada hitting the bench, ESPN’s Adam Rubin suggests.
The Mets enter play Friday averaging 3.43 runs per game, the worst mark in the National League and only a hair better than the White Sox for worst in the majors. They’ve seen their third basemen compile an aggregate .659 OPS, the fourth-worst in baseball. At second base, they’ve gotten a .640 OPS, which ranks 23rd of 30.
Meanwhile, both Uribe and Johnson were above-average hitters with the Braves. Uribe posted an .817 OPS with seven home runs and 17 RBI in 167 plate appearances while Johnson came in at .772 with nine home runs and 34 RBI in 197 PA. Johnson didn’t present much of a platoon split, but Uribe hit left-handers extremely well (.958 OPS) and treaded water against right-handers (.658), which is why he would eventually fit well into a platoon.
The Mets are 49-47, three games behind the Nationals for first place in the National League East. The trade doesn’t move the needle by a tremendous amount, but it certainly should prove to make a noticeable difference in the final two months of the season.
All has been quiet on the David Wright front in recent weeks as he attempts to make his way back from spinal stenosis, but Mets general manager Sandy Alderson offered an optimistic update while speaking with reporters this afternoon.
According to Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record, Alderson said the team is hopeful that Wright will be able to ramp up baseball activities when he returns to New York next week.
“He’s involved in very limited baseball activity while in California,” Alderson said before the game. “If things go as we expect now and between the end of this week I do expect him back in New York early next week and doing some baseball activity with us.”
Wright originally landed on the disabled list in mid-April with a right hamstring strain, but he soon began dealing with lower back pain and was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. He has been rehabbing in California since, which includes weekly meetings with back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins. While this update from Alderson is a positive one, Wright is still a long way from joining the Mets. He’d likely require a lengthy minor league rehab assignment after such a long absence and one setback could rule him out for the remainder of the season. Still, this could be his final shot to make it back.
By the way, the Mets have insurance on Wright’s contract and have reportedly collected 75 percent of his salary since he missed his 60th day. Alderson was asked this afternoon whether the cost savings will provide the team with additional wiggle room leading up to next week’s trade deadline, but he said that it’s a “separate consideration” and it doesn’t give them “any more or less” flexibility. Who knows what that means, but there you go.