Idle Mets Lose Big

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After 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.

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