From April through July of the 2015 season, the Mets were the worst offensive team in baseball.
Their eulogy read something like this: last in runs scored (3.54 a game), hitting .234 as a team, with a .662 OPS, while hitting 0.9 homers per game.
The lineup was tragic in and of itself, where the cleanup hitter was John Mayberry Jr. with the likes of Eric Campbell behind him. Since they were batting .170 and .179 respectively, they didn’t quite make it so the middle of the Mets order would strike fear into the opposing pitcher.
Something clearly needed to happen. Enter the Detroit Tigers. Then GM of the Tigers Dave Dombrowski and GM of the Mets Sandy Alderson worked diligently to nearly the last minute of the trade deadline to work out a deal. That deal would be as follows:
Fulmer was named 2015 Eastern League pitcher of the year. He was considered to be an elite prospect held in high regard, as well as the main chip in this trade. Some projected Fulmer to be a future ace or top end of the rotation starter. A former first round pick, Fulmer was anticipated to develop into a dominating pitcher rivaling the likes of Harvey, Wheeler, and Syndergaard. Losing him was seemingly a big price to pay for what appeared to be a rental bat.
But to ease the Mets’ fans worries about trading away too much of the future, an offensive resurgence was one the horizon.
After Cespedes arrived, the Mets turned into the best offensive team in their league. First in runs scored, hitting .275 with a .840 team OPS, averaging 6.2 runs and 1.7 homers per game. Becoming an offensive juggernaut combining with their stellar pitching lead them to their first Eastern Division title since 2006, first National League pennant since 2000, and a World Series birth.
After a successful season, it would be hard to look back and regret the trade that turned it all around. What started out as a temporary bid for Yoenis Cespedes, turned into resigning him to the Mets for a 3 year/$75 million contract. As if the return of an MVP caliber player was not enough, Mets’ fans have recently discovered that the bargaining chip used to obtain Cespedes is not worth as much as we or the receiving team once thought.
According to the current GM of the Detroit Tigers, Al Avila, Fulmer is now viewed as a future closer. Avila made this proclamation on the program High Heat, played on the MLB network show with Mad Dog Russo.
Avila stated that he perceives Fulmer to be a back-end of the bullpen, late inning guy, possibly one to take the closer role from the man holding that position: Francisco Rodriguez. What happened to top-end of the rotation? Fulmer, who was once looked at to be an ace of a staff, is now being looked at as late inning relief. This trade seems to unfold in an even brighter light favoring the Mets.
Trading what could eventually be two bullpen pieces for an MVP candidate that brought you to a World Series; every team would make that move. There is always a risk when trading away a major league player for minor league prospects. The major league player has already proven his ability while one can only speculate and project what will be the outcome for the prospects. As it sits right now, the value of the once elite-level pitching prospect Michael Fulmer has taken a hit.
He is potentially never going to live up to the hype that made this deal possible in the first place.