2016-08-03 / Front Page

Mets Make A Deal

By Tomer Langer

Earlier this week, the New York Mets completed a trade with the Cincinnati Reds, acquiring Jay Bruce. It’s the second straight year that the Mets acquired a power-hitting outfielder on August 1, the day of the Major League Baseball trade deadline. Last season, the Mets acquired Yoenis Cespedes from the Detriot Tigers for pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.

Here’s a look at how it all went down and its implications, one year later.

Originally, it wasn’t supposed to be Cespedes. On July 29, the Mets had a deal in place to send pitcher Zack Wheeler and infielder Wilmer Flores to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Carlos Gomez. News of the trade leaked during the game, and when Flores learned of the news he started crying while at shortstop. The trade fell through later that night, after the Mets got concerned about Gomez’s health.

Two days later, on July 31, Flores hit a walk-off home run against the Washington Nationals. It was a feel-good moment, but still, the Mets were looking for a power bat to add to the lineup.
Thirteen minutes before the 4 p.m. trade deadline, the news broke that the Mets had traded for Cespedes. At the time, the Mets were two games behind the Nationals in the National League East Division Standings. But the team’s fortune quickly changed after the trade.

New York caught fire and ended up winning 90 games, clinching in the process a playoff spot for the first time since 2006 by winning the division and finishing seven games ahead of the Nationals. Cespedes was a huge catalyst to the run. In 57 games after the trade, Cespedes hit .287 with 17 home runs and 44 runs batted in.  

The Mets didn’t stop at just making the playoffs though. They beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS to advance to the World Series. A team that was three games over .500 at the beginning of August was one of the last two remaining in late October, and a lot of it could be traced back to the Cespedes trade. New York ended up losing the series, but the trade still sparked a fire and inspired fans that were following the team’s postseason run.

In the offseason, the Mets re-signed Cespedes to a three-year deal, although he can opt out of it at the end of this season. Cessa made a few appearances for the Yankees at the beginning of the season, but is now a pitching for their AAA-team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Fulmer has been a standout for the Tigers, going 9-2 with a 2.50 era in 16 starts so far.

Making a deadline deal last year helped a Mets team that was barely over .500 get one step away from a championship. As they sit 2.5 games out of a playoff spot, the Mets, and their fans, are hoping that this move will provide a similar push with an even sweeter ending.

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