playing 18 games in 18 days since the All-Star break, the New York Mets
finally enjoyed a day off yesterday. But even with the idle date on
their schedule, the boys from Queens had to feel like they lost big
when they crawled into their beds last night, as both the Atlanta
Braves and Philadelphia Phillies—the two squads chasing the Mets in the
NL East division—had a successful 24 hours.
The Braves made the biggest splash,
acquiring Texas slugger Mark Teixeira from the Rangers in exchange for
rookie catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and three minor leaguers. (Quick,
say Teixeira for Saltalamacchia 10 times fast). Teixeira will be a
huge upgrade at first base for Atlanta. The big lefty brings a .297
batting average, 13 home runs, 49 RBIs, .397 on-base percentage and.524
slugging percentage to a team whose current cadre of first basemen are
near the bottom of the league in every offensive category. The
second-place Phillies also had a nice afternoon, winning for their ninth time in 10 games. The victory clawed them ever-closer to the division-leading Mets, as New York now possesses just a three-game edge over Charlie Manuel’s squad.
But it wasn’t all bad news yesterday. The Mets made a much-needed move
of their own when New York traded two minor leaguers to Minnesota for
second baseman and three-time All-Star Luis Castillo. Castillo will
fill the void that Jose Valentín left when he broke his shin
two weeks ago, and although it’s not nearly as impactful as Atlanta’s
move, it does help bolster an already strong defense and lineup.