By Andy Milone
Here’s how the 2016 trade for Yoenis Cespedes turned out: Michael Fulmer became the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year while Luis Cessa became a serviceable pitcher in 25 games for the cross town Yankees. If a Mets fan were to play devil’s advocate to drawbacks from the past three years of deadline drama, this would be the only one. But of course, Yoenis Cespedes was a massive return in 2015 and for future years, so this still is a tough argument to back up.
The NY Mets are sellers as the 2017 team exemplified — trading Addison Reed and Lucas Duda — before the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. But this is territory that the team has not arguably experienced since 2011 when the Mets traded Francisco Rodriguez for Adrian Rosario and Daniel Ray and exchanged Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler. So how did this year’s ticking time before the 4 o’clock hour on deadline day compare to past three seasons: 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Here are the winning percentages of the NY Mets on July 29th for the past three seasons — and this season — along with their statuses approaching the deadline:
2017 ~ .471 (Sellers)
2016 ~ .520 (Buyers)
2015 ~ .515 (Buyers)
2014 ~ .477 (Neutral)
These winning percentages and deadline statuses ended up being representative of how each team finished the season as the buying 2015 and 2016 Mets made the playoffs. The 2014 trade deadline buildup did not have a large impact on their two playoff runs with the exception of the signing of Michael Conforto, their first overall selection from a year ago, who hit .333 in the 2015 World Series with 2 home runs as a 22 year old kid.
If one considers not getting rid of Kirk Niewenhuis a big deal, he did have a memorable 2015 homerun, which most fans will remember against the rival Nationals and could consider a smart choice from 2014. Relive this moment.
The 2015 NY Mets had one of the most anemic offenses with a glaringly low average with runners in scoring position until their 2015 trade deadline acquisitions and call-up of Conforto sparked some hope. Even the 2016 Mets had sunk to one game below .500 in mid-August and without deadline decisions to sign Jose Reyes and trade for Jay Bruce, they may not have crept into the postseason wildcard game against the Giants.
John Gant, who was sent away in the 2015 Juan Uribe/Kelly Johnson trade, is now in the St. Louis system and has pitched one 2017 game with the big club. Robert Whalen, who was also sent away in the Uribe/Johnson trade, is now in the Seattle system and has pitched in two 2017 games with the big league team. Casey Meisner has not pitched in the big leagues since he was sent over to Oakland in the Tyler Clippard trade.
The big news of the 2016 deadline action was the sending of Dilson Herrera over to Cincinnati for Bruce — the supposed second baseman of the future following the Nationals’ signing of Daniel Murphy. Herrera has not yet played in the big leagues with Cincinnati and has played 68 games with their Triple-A squad, hitting a disappointing .264 with a .709 OPS.
Now, it’s looking like Reyes will be the potential 2018 second baseman of the future — a situation, which would never have presented itself if it weren’t for his violation of MLB’s domestic dispute policy from a year ago. Max Wotell, the other player in the Bruce deal, has fallen to low-A ball and has posted ERAs north of 8.00.
Duda and Reed have already been traded to Tampa Bay and Boston, respectively, to upset Yankee supporters; The Mets acquired Reed’s replacement in AJ Ramos, and Asdrubal Cabrera remains the most likely to be traded after the deadline.
Now, it’s time to see how Amed Rosario, who competed in the 2017 Futures Game, will do tomorrow as this team — with Rosario and Dominic Smith along with already established players like Conforto, Cespedes, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Jeurys Familia — are ready to compete as the heart of a NY franchise beckoning for more success in 2018.
Here are some of the notable transactions of the last three seasons throughout July leading up to the deadline (again noting the trade deadline was on August 1 in 2016):
2014 – Sign Conforto; option Niewenhuis to Las Vegas; recall Wilmer Flores from Las Vegas
2015 – Recall Nieuwenhuis from Las Vegas, place Steven Matz on disabled list; trade Gant and Whalen for Uribe, Johnson and cash; call up Conforto from Binghamton; trade Casey Meisner for Tyler Clippard and cash; release John Mayberry Jr.; activate Travis d’Arnaud from disabled list; trade Luis Cessa and Michael Fulmer for Cespedes; option Conforto to Las Vegas
2016 – Select contract of Reyes from Binghamton; place Matt Harvey on the disabled list; recall Conforto from Las Vegas; place Reyes on disabled list; sign Justin Ruggiano; trade Herrera and Wotell for Bruce; trade Jonathon Niese for Antonio Bastardo
2017 – Activate Conforto from 10-day disabled list; designate Neil Ramirez for assignment; place Zack Wheeler on 10-day disabled list; trade Duda to Rays for Drew Smith; activate Neil Walker from 10-day disabled list; trade Merandy Gonzalez and Ricardo Cespedes for A. Ramos; trade Reed for Stephen Nogosek, Jamie Callahan and Gerson Bautista; recall Amed Rosario from Las Vegas