NEW YORK -- The Mets acquired slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from Detroit on Friday in their strongest attempt yet to boost a punchless lineup that threatened to derail their postseason hopes.
Cespedes hit .293 with 18 home runs with 61 RBIs in 102 games with the Tigers this season. The Mets trail first-place Washington by three games in the NL East, but New York rank last in the major leagues in runs and batting average, and is 29th in on-base percentage and slugging.
The Mets sent minor league pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa to Detroit. The Tigers decided to build for the future this week after winning the last four AL Central titles. They traded star left-hander David Price and closer Joakim Soria on Thursday.
Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin said a trade fell through Wednesday that would have sent Carlos Gomez to the Mets, and at that point it was fair to wonder whether New York would do enough to improve its struggling offense. But the acquisition of Cespedes - after the Mets also added infielders Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson - could pay dividends in the race for a postseason spot.
New York is 4 1/2 games behind the NL's second wild card.
[STIGLICH: A's trade Ryan Cook to Red Sox]
"When you're in the hunt, what you want is general managers on your team to be somewhat aggressive," third baseman David Wright said as news of the Cespedes trade was breaking. "And it seems like (GM Sandy Alderson has) done that. So give him credit."
Wright has been on the disabled list since April 15 because of hamstring and back problems.
The 22-year-old Fulmer has spent most of this season with Double-A Binghamton, going 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA. The 23-year-old Cessa has split time between Binghamton and Triple-A Las Vegas. In 18 starts between those two levels, he is 7-7 with a 3.98 ERA.
"I think as an organization, one of your responsibilities is to regroup when you can and you add and you make moves," Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski said in Baltimore, where the Tigers were to face the Orioles. "You have to kind of assess where you are."
Detroit is in fourth place in the AL Central. Although a wild-card berth remains a possibility, Dombrowski apparently thought looking toward next year and beyond was a better option.
[STIGLICH: Joe Stiglich's A's CHAT transcript (7.31.15)]
"We had asked for Fulmer for the last couple of days and they said no," he said. "They finally came back and made the deal."
He said the Tigers will seek to win with the team as it is currently constructed.
"They're professionals. They'll know that the goal is to go out there and win each and every day as much as they possibly can," he said.
He said the other teams around the majors helped make these trades happen.
"I really kind of left it to other clubs to kind of control where we were going with this," Dombrowski said. "And the three guys we traded were the three guys that were actively pursued."