Analysis: Mets -- and their fans -- big winners with three late-July trades

NEW YORK -- It has been so long since the New York Mets were buyers at the non-waiver trade deadline, it requires some thought to recall the last time they made a meaningful acquisition.

The answer: The Mets obtained Luis Castillo from the Minnesota Twins on July 30, 2007, for Drew Butera and Dustin Martin. (Don't ask how that season ended.)

Capped by Friday’s trade with the Detroit Tigers for Yoenis Cespedes, general manager Sandy Alderson’s activity this past week blows away that eight-year-old deadline acquisition.

The Mets addressed multiple needs via three trades that landed Tyler Clippard, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe and Cespedes.

The price was steep in terms of parting with five minor league pitchers, particularly Michael Fulmer, in the deadline deal for Cespedes. But it was warranted, and the Mets deserve kudos for their trade-deadline aggressiveness.

While Fulmer has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation starter if things break right, he has endured numerous injuries since getting drafted 44th overall in 2011 out of high school in Oklahoma. And because the Mets are so deep in terms of young starting pitching with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler (once he returns from Tommy John surgery), shedding some promising younger arms to go for it now without jeopardizing the future is a no-brainer.

Mets fans have waited long enough for a winner. They deserved the front office activity this trade deadline, even with all of the acquired players due for free agency during the upcoming offseason.

We’ve already seen the dividends of the Uribe and Johnson trade, including Uribe’s walk-off RBI against the Dodgers on July 26. Clippard offsets the second PED suspension of Jenrry Mejia and gives the Mets a credible alternative closer if Jeurys Familia (0-for-3 in save chances in the second half) continues to struggle. And Cespedes now gives the Mets a thumper in the middle of the lineup, which the team desperately needs.

The Mets, it is no secret, entered this weekend ranked last in the majors in runs scored (363) and batting average (.235).

Couple Cespedes’ addition with Friday’s return of Travis d’Arnaud from the disabled list and signs of progress with David Wright, who may begin minor league games early next week, and things are starting to look bright for the dismal offense.

Make no mistake: The Mets still have an uphill battle to reach the playoffs. They enter a critical weekend series against Washington, trailing the first-place Nationals by three games in the National League East. And the wild card may be even more of a challenge. The San Francisco Giants, who currently occupy the second wild-card slot, have a 4½-game lead on the Mets. San Francisco is playing so well, it has moved to within a half-game of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West.

Are the Mets seriously going to upset the Nationals to win the NL East or catch the runner-up between the Dodgers and Giants for the second wild card? In either case, that may be a stretch. But it's not impossible.

And Mets fans deserved their front office going for it.