What the Mets are (really) getting...
I can't remember if I listed the Mets among my trade-deadline "sellers," but I think I still had them on the borderline. Anyway, Friday they chose their side of the border, trading a couple of mid-level prospects for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson.
Uribe can take over at third base and Johnson in left field, thus covering two of the Mets' terribly obvious holes (the other is catcher, but Travis d'Arnaud might be back soon).
That's the good news! The bad news is that Uribe and Johnson won't actually make the Mets good at those positions; they'll just make them better, due solely to how bad they've been lately.
Still, when I see "people" saying the trade should make a difference, I have no idea what in hell that's supposed to mean. If you're saying it should make a difference, aren't you saying it's not likely that the Mets have gone from a non-playoff team to a playoff team? Isn't that the only difference everybody cares about?
Well, sorry gang, but no: Uribe and Johnson are not likely to do that. Both are having nice seasons, and particularly Uribe since going from the Dodgers to the Braves. But neither projects as much better than replacement level the rest of the way. If the Mets had traded for Justin Upton and Aramis Ramirez, then sure: We might have accurately described the deal as a likely difference-maker.
This is not that sort of a deal.
Which doesn't mean I don't like it. It's almost impossible to quantify goodwill, but goodwill does have value and the Mets just bought some. If everything works out perfectly and the Mets are somehow still in the hunt in late September, tremendous. Especially if Uribe and/or Johnson play well down the stretch. But more than anything, this was about management shutting up some of the critics for at least a few days, maybe even weeks. Which, if your management, has to feel pretty good.