How are the Mets trade deadline alternatives faring?
After weeks and weeks of swirling rumors on who the Mets would and should acquire by the July 31st trade deadline, Sandy Alderson and the front office finally got their big bat in Yoenis Cespedes in a trade with the Tigers.
Cespedes has been everything the Mets could have hoped for and more in his first month manning the outfield in Queens, as the 29-year-old Cuban defector is hitting .312/.354/.570 with six doubles, six home runs, 18 RBI, four stolen bases and a .923 OPS in 21 games since the trade.
Things could have turned out much differently for the Mets, however, as their search for a big bat nearly took them down a few other paths. Here’s how some of their alternatives are faring since the trade deadline…
For a few hours, at least, it appeared as if the Mets had indeed re-acquired their former center field prospect Carlos Gomez in a deal with the Brewers. It was reported by
multiple writers that the deal was done and the Mets had acquired Gomez from Milwaukee in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores.
By now, everyone knows what happened from here. Flores showed his emotions as he cried in front of the whole viewing world after hearing the news that he had been traded, the deal eventually fell through due to medicals and the discussion about whether or not social media jumped the gun was on.
The next day, Gomez was dealt to the Astros along with pitcher Mike Fiers, and it appeared as if the Mets had missed a great opportunity to not only acquire their big bat but also have an answer in center field as the injured Juan Lagares continued to struggle at the time.
In 22 games with the Astros, however, things have not gone too well for Gomez, as the former future Met is hitting .181/.218/.241 with two doubles, one home run, four RBI, 19 strikeouts, four walks and five stolen bases with a .459 OPS.
Whether his hips are a real issue as the Mets doctors believed was the case or he’s simply just having a down year, it appears that the Amazin’s dodged a bullet here. Wilmer Flores, by the way, is hitting .338 with seven doubles, four home runs, 14 RBI and a .606 slugging percentage since the trade that wasn’t.
In the wake of the Gomez non-trade fallout, the Mets were under even more pressure to get something done by the trade deadline. The focus of their affection appeared to turn on Reds outfielder, Jay Bruce.
At one point early on deadline day, it seemed as if this deal was inevitable. The Mets needed a power-hitting outfielder, and Bruce fit the bill. The rumors had even gone as far to suggest that Wheeler, the main piece of the Gomez trade, was likely involved.
Eventually talks between the Mets and Reds faded and by that afternoon focus had shifted to other players. Yet again, it looks as if the Mets made the right move. Not only did they get to hold on to Wheeler yet again, but Bruce has been woeful this past month.
Since the July 31st deadline, the 28-year-old right fielder is hitting .143/.170/.247 with six doubles, one home run, 10 RBI, three walks and 23 strikeouts with a .444 OPS in 22 games with the Reds.
Now here’s an intriguing one. While the Mets landed Yoenis Cespedes by the 4:00 PM deadline, the team was also in deep discussions with the Padres in an attempt to land
Justin Upton, according to Jon Harper of the Daily News.
A club source told Harper that the team was confident that they would indeed acquire Upton, until the Padres, who wound up standing pat at the trade deadline, backed out of the deal and opted to keep the free-agent-to-be.
Upton is an interesting case as he’s the same age as Cespedes and could be easier to re-sign come the offseason, solely based on the fact that the Mets will only have five days after the World Series to work out a deal with Cespedes due to the way his contract is constructed.
Even with that said, and while Upton is having a good season, I still think that the Mets wound up acquiring the best player on the market. Not only are Cespedes’ numbers superior, but he has also shown the ability to play center field for the Mets, something Upton would not have been able to do.
In 21 games since the trade deadline, Upton is hitting .289/.415/.487 with seven doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI, 16 walks and a .902 OPS with the Padres.