In some regards, it’s feeling a whole lot like 2015 for the New York Mets. Can they rekindle that same magic?
While it feels like decades ago, the New York Mets are only three years removed from their epic run to the World Series in 2015. A season that saw John Mayberry, Jr. bat cleanup in late July and the emergence of Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard, wasn’t always lining up to be the fairytale story it would become.
Instead, a few days in July changed the course of the organization. The Mets the offensive power they needed and would eventually cruise to a 7-game division lead over the Washington Nationals and a 37-22 record down the home stretch. The two month run of .627 baseball fueled the Mets to their first playoff appearance since 2006.
While the offense was massively enhanced by the addition of Yoenis Cespedes, there was something else in the air at Citi Field. Perhaps it was “good fundies” or solid pitching, or some higher power at play helping them power through. The Mets were magical those final two months, and it all started with two players who are currently involved in trade talks.
The news broke on the night of July 29th, thanks to Post writer Joel Sherman. The Mets had shipped Wilmer Flores, fan favorite and season opener at Shortstop, and Zack Wheeler, who was missing the 2015 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, for Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez. This news came mid-game and we all watched as Wilmer kept taking the field, puzzled as to why he was still in the game.
As the story would later unfold, former Mets manager Terry Collins was blissfully unaware of the deal and only pulled Flores after he became aware of his emotions getting the best of him. After the game, we all learned that the deal was no more, and that “the entire world has jumped the gun.”
Two days later they would eventually trade for a different power-hitting outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes. In exchange, the Mets dealt two young pitching prospects, Luis Cessa and Future Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer.
Cespedes exploded onto the scene in Flushing, absolutely smashing his way into the hearts of fans. Bashing 17 homers and hitting .287 in the remaining 57 games of 2015, Cespedes was the right player at the right time for the Amazins.
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The rest, as they say, is history.
However, with Flores and Wheeler being tossed around as trade candidates for the Mets amidst their almost lost season. When comparing the two seasons, one can’t help but see the similarities. Sure the record is different and the roster has changed. There is, however, no denying the fact that this seems like deja vu.
Flores and Wheeler have also proven themselves to be different three years later as well. At the time of the failed trade, Flores was hitting .249 for the season. At the end of July, Flores would finish the month as a .299 hitter. The new and improved Flores is hitting above his 2015 form, adding to trade stock.
Perhaps they are following a similar blueprint. Perhaps rekindling those trade tumors could spark something in this team. It’s worked before. Can it work again?
Flores and Wheeler have both come out and said they would prefer to stay in Queens. Since the 2015 season, both have become staples of the Mets roster. Perhaps an aborted trade would help restart the engines. Their last near-exit helped fuel the Mets towards the National League pennant, and eventually the World Series.
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Perhaps all they need is a little 2015 magic to turn things around.