The Mets did finally make a trade for an impact bat, acquiring Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers at the deadline.
New York sends pitching prospects Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa to Detroit in return.
Cespedes came to the major leagues from Cuba in 2012, becoming an instant star with Oakland that season. Over his four-year career, which included stops in Boston and Detroit, he’s a .269 hitter with 89 home runs and 323 RBI in 518 games.
This season in Detroit, he was hitting .293 with 18 homers and 61 RBI. That’s the kind of right-handed bat the Mets so desperately needed in this lineup. Cespedes, however, doesn’t walk much, drawing just 19 free passes in 427 plate appearances this season.
The Mets will be on the hook for the rest of Cepedes’ salary this season, about $4 million or so. He will be a free agent at the end of the season and at 30 years old (his birthday is in October) he’ll be one of the top free agent targets. Perhaps this few months with the Mets encourages him to resign here, but money will largely be the biggest issue for Cespedes. Will other teams be able to offer more money and/or years?
This is a move for now, and the addition of Cespedes certainly makes the Mets lineup much scarier in the short term. If Michael Cuddyer and David Wright ever return – and who knows how productive they’ll be – this team will get even better.
The trade did not come without a cost. Fulmer was one of the Mets’ top pitching prospects, having posted a 6-2 record and a 1.88 ERA in 15 starts at Double-A Binghamton this season. But with Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler all slated to fill the Mets’ rotation in the years to come, parting with Fulmer was a little easier.
Cessa, 23, had reached Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this season after going 7-4 with a 2.56 ERA at Binghamton to start the year. He will give up hits, but his walk-to-strikeout ratio (4.05 strikeouts for every walk) is a very good sign that he can have success in the big leagues.
The Mets dealt from a position of strength, giving up a few pitchers that have high ceilings but weren’t likely to be contributors at Citi Field this year. In return, they got Cespedes, who just might bash the Mets into the 2015 postseason. If that’s the case, then the Mets will consider this trade a win, no matter what uniform Cespedes wears next season.