When the Mets signed Alejandro de Aza from the San Francisco Giants, how did most fans feel?
Enraged. Furious. Utterly disappointed in the stingy Wilpon brothers on passing up the key to the 2015 Mets season, Yoenis Cespedes.
The de Aza signing meant that Cespedes was gone, and the seemingly weak player would platoon with Juan Lagares at center field, a significant downgrade from La Potenćia.
Who even was Alejandro de Aza? Most fans didn’t even recognize the name until the Amazin’s signed him to a 1 year, $5.75 million contract.
That all changed at about 10:30 Eastern Time last Friday. Not only was Cespedes, the super slugger savior, coming back, but the lowly de Aza would be downgraded to bench player.
It looked like the Wilpons may have finally figured it out. They might rarely get it right, and signing Cespedes likely wasn’t a plan of theirs this offseason, but it all worked out in the end. And it’s in more ways than just the return of Yo.
de Aza has been roughly a .270 hitter in his career, with about 6 or 7 home runs and about 30 RBI’s. He plays excellent defense, and is speedy, which are two of the most valuable traits come postseason time. He has the necessary skills to provide a spark off the bench, and provide a key hit late in games.
Enter a windy September game at Citi Field. It’s the final game of a key series with the Washington Nationals, and whoever wins this will have some serious momentum in the race for the division down the homestretch of the regular season.
Game is tied 2-2. Bottom of the 8th. Runners on second and third. 7th inning was Jacob deGrom‘s last of the night, in order to let Antonio Bastardo dominate the 8th and let Jeurys Familia close out the 9th.
Who does Terry Collins replace deGrom with to deliver the clutch, 1,2, or 3 run hit?
The man is Alejandro de Aza.
He hits a short ground ball between 2nd and 3rd, just out of reach of the shortstop, just his style. Conforto scores. Cabrera scores. 4-2. Bastardo and Familia dominate. Game over.
In the most unlikely situations, Alejandro de Aza is the Amazin’s go-to man. He’s been in the league for 8 years, he knows what he’s working with.
And he just may be the surprising X-Factor that no one saw coming.