We all know the story: right around the trade deadline, the Mets made some big moves and brought in four key players to help get them to the playoffs. It's been 15 games since the first move - the acquisition of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe from the Braves - so let's see how it's all going so far.
The team numbers say that the moves for Johnson, Uribe, reliever Tyler Clippard and slugger Yoenis Cespedes have been hugely successful. The team is 11-5 since the first reinforcements showed up.
But how have they done individually? Let's take a look.
Johnson, 33, has been around the league quite a bit, spending most of his career with the Braves. His value comes in his ability to play multiple positions: he has played games for the Mets in right field, left field, first base and second base. He's an important veteran utility man.
As for his bat, it's been mostly very quiet since joining. He's played 12 games and notched just 6 hits in 38 at bats - a .158 average. He has one home run and 2 RBI and has walked twice.
Another veteran journeyman is Uribe, who is up there in years - he's 36 and has played for six different teams in 15 years (including 3 different teams this year). Uribe's fielding isn't what it once was - in his earlier years he could play several positions, and now he's purely a third baseman, but he's been solid enough at the hot corner since joining.
At the plate, Uribe's numbers aren't too different from those of Johnson. He's been to bat 39 times and has just 7 hits, 3 of which have been home runs (his average sits at just .179). He's a big power guy and has showed it to an extent, and hit a huge walk-off about two weeks ago. His 6 RBI and 4 walks are promising.
Clippard was brought in to lock down the 8th inning and give some security to closer Jeurys Familia, and that's exactly what he's done.
He's pitched 6 2/3 innings in 7 appearances and has allowed just 1 run (a solo homer) on 6 hits. He only has 2 strikeouts, but that's not his game and shouldn't be surprising. He's also got one win and one save - another valuable aspect of Clippard is that he can close games effectively if Familia is not available on a given night.
Cespedes was the Mets' big splash at the deadline and hopes have been high. He has come up huge in showing his ability to play center field - not his natural position - and he's done a good job out there, starting 7 games (compared to 2 in left field) without an error. The Mets needed somebody to spell Juan Lagares in center, and Cespedes has exceeded expectations in filling that role.
Cespedes has 11 hits in 38 at bats, good for a solid .289 average. He hasn't homered, but has 3 doubles and 5 RBI. Even though his numbers don't leap off the page, he has been a major force in the middle of the lineup for the Mets since coming over from Detroit.
It goes beyond the numbers
The plain fact of the matter is that none of these players' numbers are MVP quality, but their contributions have been massive. Cespedes, Uribe and Johnson have filled out the quality in the lineup, giving some much-needed protection to hitters like Lucas Duda (who has slugged 9 homers since the other guys showed up), Daniel Murphy and Travis d'Arnaud. The key is - even if these guys aren't hurting you on a given night, everyone knows they can get a big hit at any given time. That sort of fear was not present when guys like John Mayberry and Eric Campbell were starting every day. They lengthen the lineup and strengthen the bench, and a long lineup and a strong bench are two things that any playoff team must have.
Clippard has been beyond solid, filling a huge whole left by the stupidity of suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia.
Uribe, Johnson and Clippard are experienced veterans, guys you want on your team as you get closer to the playoffs. They've been there and know what it means to win. Cespedes may not have that same sort of experience with winning, but he's a plain ol' superstar and brings his own brand of swagger and fire into the lineup.