Before the New York Mets’ 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in 10 innings, the Amazin’s acquired the versatile Kelly Johnson from the Atlanta Braves, as first reported by Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Atlanta receives minor league righty Akeel Morris in return.
Ken Davidoff of Newsday reports that the Braves will send about $450,000 to the Mets, offsetting a portion of the remaining $1.3 million Johnson is set to make.
The Mets acquired Johnson and Juan Uribe from the Braves last July, one week before the trade deadline. In 49 games with the Mets last year, Johnson hit 0.250/0.304/0.414 with five home runs and 13 runs batted in (RBIs). In the postseason, Johnson recorded one hit in nine at-bats in the Mets’ journey to a World Series loss.
During the 49-game stint, Johnson appeared at first base, second base, third base, left field, right field, and made his first career appearance at shortstop.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 8, 2016
In the offseason, the Braves re-signed Johnson to a one-year, $2 million pact, signaling the start of his third stint in Atlanta. In 49 games for the last-place Braves, Johnson was hitting 0.215/0.273/0.289 with one HR and 10 RBIs. He’s continued to show off his versatility, making appearances at second base (26 games), left field (six games), and first base (one game).
“Obviously knowing Kelly last year, and knowing that he was out there on a team that wasn’t playing very well, we kept our eye on him,” Mets’ assistant GM John Ricco said. “Even though he’s not having a great year this year, he’s a guy we kept our eye on because of the versatility, and we know him. He’s a veteran presence.”
As for the Braves, 23-year-old Morris represents a solid pickup. He made one appearance with the Mets last season and has spent the rest of the time posting solid minor league numbers. While he’s pitching to a 4.62 ERA in 22 Double-A games, Morris owns a 2.91 ERA for his professional career with 405 strikeouts in 303 innings.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 8, 2016
Rubin noted that Atlanta and New York had discussions about a Johnson deal “off and on for the past week.” The talks became more serious when another major injury struck the Mets’ lineup.
Team captain David Wright went on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck. He’s expected to miss a minimum of two months as he rehabs from the injury. In addition to the neck, Wright has been managing spinal stenosis this season, undergoing a rigorous warm up for games and receiving scheduled days off.
Also, Lucas Duda (back) and Travis d’Arnaud (shoulder) are currently sidelined with injuries and their returns are unknown. The Mets already made one major upgrade, trading for veteran first baseman James Loney after Duda was sidelined with a stress fracture in his back.
Manager Terry Collins noted that lefty-swinging Johnson will likely platoon with Wilmer Flores — the hero of the Mets’ extra-inning victory last night — at third base. He will also see a lot of pinch-hitting duty and spell Neil Walker and Loney at first and second base, respectively.
“It’s an ideal move for me, because I was with the Mets last year,” Johnson told the Braves’ website. “It’s exciting, and hopefully we can go one step further this year.”
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) June 8, 2016
The Mets were active in the trade market last season, acquiring Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, and Addison Reed in addition to Uribe and Johnson. With injuries creating several vacancies, Ricco confirms the team’s intentions to remain active in the market this season.
“Certainly we made a lot of trades last year, but we still have some pretty good players in the system. I’m not saying we’re going to trade them all. But I think we have assets to get some deals done.”
[Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images]