The New York Mets are going for it.
A day after trading away their two best pitching prospects, the Mets will look for an immediate return on their investment when they send Kris Benson to the mound in the middle game of their series with the first-place Atlanta Braves.
The Mets acquired right-hander Benson from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday for infielder Ty Wigginton, pitching prospect Matt Peterson and infielder Jose Bautista, who they got earlier in the day from Kansas City.
“We’re getting younger and transforming our roster that a year ago or two years ago was one of the oldest in baseball,” Mets general manager Jim Duquette said. “Both of these pitchers (Benson and Zambrano) are 29 years old, they still have a lot of mileage ahead of them, pitching-wise.”
Benson, who is 8-8 with a 4.22 ERA, has faced the Braves in his last two starts, going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings in a 4-2 loss on Monday. However, he has won four of his last six decisions and was one of the most sought-after players on the trade market this season.
The right-hander will become a free agent after this season, and the Pirates knew they would be unable to afford to keep him.
“It’s kind of a relief just to get it over with. It’s been a tough day,” Benson said. “If there was a team I’d be excited to go to, it would be (the Mets).”
The Mets, who are just 5-10 since the All-Star break, are hoping Benson can help them climb back into contention in the NL East. They lost 3-1 to Atlanta on Friday and fell seven games behind the Braves in the division. Jason Phillips scored the Mets’ only run on a Kaz Matsui groundout.
“We came in hoping to win the series, and we can still do that,” manager Art Howe said. “We played hard, we just couldn’t put anything together against (Atlanta starter Mike) Hampton.”
Marcus Giles went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Andruw Jones had two hits and drove in a run for the Braves, who are 19-6 in July. Atlanta moved 4 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia and Florida in the division.