Yoenis Cespedes’ time with the New York Mets hasn’t been perfect, but there’s little doubt the 2015 trade that put him in Flushing was a win for them. This is even truer with the way Michael Fulmer’s career is going.
Yoenis Cespedes is an interesting cat. In less than a year, he was traded for the following season’s Cy Young winner and Rookie of the Year. The latter, Michael Fulmer, is the big piece the New York Mets sent to the Detroit Tigers for Cespedes in the summer of 2015.
With the way things are trending in Fulmer’s career, the swap looks like an unquestionable win for the Mets.
Sure, things haven’t gone well with Cespedes. That’s more at fault of the front office for overpaying him in free agency. The Fulmer trade has little connection to Cespedes as it only brought him to New York for the last two months of the 2015 season. Everything else has nothing to do with a guy who, for a short period, looked like one of the best pitchers in the American League.
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Not long ago, it looked like the Mets may have given up too much for Cespedes. Because they weren’t able to capture a championship with him in 2015, some thought they traded away a promising future for a bat on the decline. This no longer looks true.
After winning the 2016 Rookie of the Year while making a case for himself as a Cy Young candidate, Fulmer returned in 2017 with an All-Star season and yet another productive season. His excellence hasn’t been there in 2018. The young righty put together a miserable year for the Tigers, ultimately ending with knee surgery.
Fulmer should recover and have a long career ahead of him. However, he’s clearly trending in the wrong direction.
In his third big league season, Fulmer made 24 starts for the Tigers. He ended the year 3-12 with a 4.69 ERA. Through his first 75 starts at the MLB level, he’s now 24-31 with a 3.81 ERA.
Fulmer has yet to last a full season in the major leagues. Discounting his rookie campaign of 2016 as he didn’t get called up until late April, for two straight years he has now missed time. It’s not an extended period, but enough where the Tigers may have some concern.
Meanwhile, Cespedes has missed many more games for the Mets. The 81 games played in 2017 seems like a luxury compared to the 38 logged in 2018.
Still, it’s those 57 games he played in 2015 that make this trade one the Mets should never regret. Without his bat in the lineup, the Mets wouldn’t have gone as far into the postseason as they did.
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There are plenty of regretful trades in Mets history. No matter what happens here, the Cespedes for Fulmer swap was a good one.