At the 2015 trade deadline, the New York Mets swung big and landed Yoenis Cespedes in a trade with the Detroit Tigers.
The New York Mets have had two major developments over the past several weeks. Most importantly, it sounds as though the 2020 MLB season will take place in an abbreviated form. This phenomenal news for baseball fans around the world!
Secondly, it the universal DH appears likely to arrive in the National League this season. While this will take some strategy away from the game, it is great news for a Mets team with several interesting DH options. The most intriguing of these choices is outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
While we await the details on the season to trickle down, now seems like the perfect time to take a trip down memory lane and examine the infamous trade that brought Cespedes to Queens in 2015.
The Mets were stagnant with a 52-50 record when the July, non-waiver, trade deadline approached in 2015. While the roster had several talented pieces, it seemed as though the team was in store for another average season.
However, as the trade deadline passed, new began to break that General Manager Sandy Alderson had pulled off a blockbuster move. Slugger Yoenis Cespedes was on his way to provide a boost to the offense in Flushing. In exchange, the Mets were sending pitchers Luis Cessa and Michael Fulmer to the Detroit Tigers.
Fulmer had an All-Star season with Detroit in 2017 and holds a career 24-31 record and 3.81 ERA. He also won the AL Rookie of the year award in 2016. Cessa, on the other hand, has a 7-12 lifetime record and a 4.50 ERA. While Fulmer is still an interesting pitching prospect, but neither seems to have been a high price for what the Mets received in return.
What did the Mets get from the trade? More than they could have ever imagined! Cespedes broke onto the scene instantly. He completely transformed the offense and the confidence of the team.
Over the final 57 games of the regular season, the outfielder hit 17 homers, including a ridiculous stretch where he blasted nine in just 13 games. His counting stat outburst also translated to major team success. The Mets finished the 2015 season with an astonishing 90-72 record and the NL East crown.
And the momentum didn’t stop there.
The newly invigorated offense, in tandem with the young pitching staff led by Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Bartolo Colon, also experienced their best postseason run in since the turn of the decade. New York was able to go all the way to the World Series, before losing to the Kansas City Royals 4-1.
Cespedes finished the season with his best career numbers, posting 35 homers, 105 RBI, and a .291 average. His impact was so incredible that he finished 13th in NL MVP voting despite playing the first 102 games in the American League.
It was truly one of the most historic runs in MLB history.
The Odd Details
Now that we are half a decade removed from the trade, some of the details may have become a little fuzzy. However, there were a number of important developments surrounding the transaction.
For instance, do you remember the failed Carlos Gomez trade that nearly prevented Cespedes from ever wearing blue and orange? Many Mets fans, myself included, were excited when news broke that the team had agreed to acquire former All-Star Gomez from the Milwaukee Brewers. The team needed help and he was a very solid player. However, concerns during the medical evaluation portion of the deal caused the trade to fall apart. The Brewers would have received Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores in return.
Speaking of Flores, he was also a major storyline. When social media caught wind of the Gomez trade, word began to spread like wildfire. Awkwardly, Flores was in a live game when he apparently received the news for the first time. This resulted in the shortstop becoming tangibly emotional while on the baseball diamond. He captured the heart of Mets fans when he began to shed tears at the idea of leaving the only franchise he had ever been a part of. Fans responded by showing him with a standing ovation.
Then the subsequent news broke. The deal had fallen through. Flores has still a member of the New York Mets. Fans again shower him with praise during his next live game. And Flores responded. He crushed a game-winning, walk-off home run in extra innings against the rival Washington Nationals. The atmosphere in Citi Field was as electric as anyone had ever seen it.
Many Mets’ fans have become frustrated with Cespedes over the past few seasons. Heath issues (climaxing with an odd report of the outfielder suffering broken ankles while on his farm) have turned his massive contract into an albatross.
However, as we gear up for the real possibility of live baseball again in 2020, let’s hope that the former superstar can regain his heath, recapture his power swing, and bring back some of the magic that made us fall in love with him in 2015. #LGM
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
How will you remember Yoenis Cespedes’ time with the Mets?