Mets Aggressive Moves Draw Attention
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Saturday, November 18, 2006

In an attempt to make sure the Mets don’t get eliminated from the playoffs for a second consecutive season, Omar Minaya made a flurry of moves this past week, getting both help on the bench the pitching staff.

Getting outfielder Ben Johnson and reliever Jon Adkins from the Padres for relievers Royce Ring and Heath Bell, the Mets have now lessened the sting of the possible losses of both Roberto Hernandez and Chad Bradford in the bullpen and have added depth to an outfield that won’t feature Cliff Floyd for the first time in four seasons.

Feeling confident about the way the team is shaping up for the 2007 season, Minaya shared his thoughts about the moves:

"Ben Johnson is a versatile outfielder who can play all three spots, has speed and shown some power,” the Mets general manager said, as reported by “He is just 25 years old, and we feel he has yet to reach his potential. Jon Adkins has had success on the major league level and can pitch multiple innings. He's another quality arm to add to our bullpen staff.”

In addition to the acquisitions of Johnson and Adkins, the Mets also picked up former All-Star turned utility-man Damion Easley and signed Orlando Hernandez and Jose Valentin, opting to keeping them on the team after stellar performances last season.

With these moves, the Mets now have a much younger, faster outfield, but may still have a problem at second base if Valentin gets injured. Easley hasn’t been a starter for quite some time now and hasn’t played in more than 110 games in five years, making the Mets hesitant to move him out of the utility role that has resurrected his career.

As far as the bullpen is concerned, Adkins is in no way, shape or form a replacement for Hernandez or Bradford, but with Duaner Sanchez returning next season from a late injury last year, Adkins won’t be asked to do much.

Johnson however, will have an opportunity to become the Mets starting left fielder next season and will have to battle both Endy Chavez and Lastings Milledge to do so. Considering the fact that the Mets would rather have Chavez come off the bench in a role similar to last year, Johnson will have to out play Milledge in Spring Training if he wants to be a starter in the big apple.

While adding Johnson and Adkins won’t have the same impact as some of the trades Minaya made last season, he nevertheless believes the trade will help the team a lot more than most think.

“It may not be a sexy trade, you have to remember, the little ones are what count sometimes,” Minaya said to “Those are the ones."