New York Mets Close To Deal With Braves For Uribe And Johnson

As expected, the New York Mets showed they’re serious about making an aggressive postseason run, closing in on two utility hitters from the sinking Braves with one week left for trade deadline shopping. Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, both with significant playing experience with numerous MLB teams, would dramatically increase the lowly Mets offense while costing the National League East hopefuls only Michael Gant and Rob Whalen. The announcement was made pending final approval by both clubs.

Uribe, 36, has primarily played third base throughout his career. He’s putting up slightly better-than-career averages this year (8 HR, 23 RBIs) between the Dodgers and Braves, and could platoon at third with Ruben Tejada. With Michael Cuddyer now down with a bone bruise and David Wright shelved with spinal stenosis, the offensive help couldn’t come quick enough. Uribe played his best year in 2010 with San Francisco, where he belted 24 homers and drove in 85 runs. The Mets would be Uribe’s sixth team.

In Kelly Johnson, 33, the New York Mets would immediately inherit an all-around solid hitting player (.275, 9 HR, 34 RBIs), and could possibly mentor the freshly called up Michael Conforto. Curtis Granderson isn’t the worst batter, yet the entire infield is hitting terribly. Johnson also had a remarkable 2010 campaign with Arizona, smashing 26 homers while knocking in 71 runs. The New York Mets would be his eighth team. The New York Post is confirming the deal is complete, but other credible sources say it’s still not finalized.

Ranking last in hitting (.233) and second to last in run production, the Mets desperately needed hitting help in order to contend. Pitching hasn’t been an issue, with Niese recharged and contributing better than ever, and Noah Syndergaard matching Jacob deGrom’s dominant stuff night after night. Bobby Parnell finally came back healthy and is pitching remarkably, while Bartolo Colon is pitching like, well, Bartolo Colon.

Atlanta would inherit a pair of young pitchers from a healthy Mets farm system. Gant, 22, is pitching between Class A and Double A ball and is showing spurts of stardom (6-5, 3.52 ERA) and could immediately contribute for the Braves. Whalen, too, has shown he’s serious about being called up (4-5, 3.36 ERA) but has been limited to Class A ball with St. Lucie.

Wilmer Flores would immediately move to shortstop while Daniel Murphy would shift to second base. With Ben Zobrist and several other hitters declared available by basement dwelling teams, it’s hard to determine if the New York Mets will stop there, or continue stockpiling bats and short-term pitching rentals. Conforto, who drove in his first Major League run Friday night in the fifth inning against Los Angeles, could see his playing time drastically cut or eliminated when the deal is final.

[Photo by Elsa/Getty Images Sport]