(Before I start this, I want to say that this has nothing to do with the Mets’ trade for Yoenis Cespedes. While I do not think one bat will make a tremendous difference, I do give them credit for making an effort to improve their ball club without trading any of their top guys.)
Thursday night, the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a trade sending Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros. The previous night, the Mets reportedly acquired Gomez in exchange for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores. That trade fell through due to reports that the Mets were concerned over Gomez’s medicals, and the Brewers quickly found a team that did not find Gomez’s medicals to be a concern.
The reason why this trade could have a lasting impact on the Mets, however, is not because they missed out on Gomez. It is because of the return that Houston sent to Milwaukee to acquire Gomez.
Earlier this month, I made a case for the Mets to trade Matt Harvey. While there was never a realistic chance that Sandy Alderson would make such a bold move, I proposed a deal that sent him to the Astros in exchange for six minor leaguers. While that may have been extreme, two of those players, including the headline prospect, were moved to the Brewers for Gomez and Fiers.
Domingo Santana started his career in the Phillies’ system, but was shipped to Houston in the Hunter Pence trade back in 2011. Santana’s calling card is his power at the plate and his strong outfield arm. There is swing and miss to his game, but he is still only 22 and is close to big league ready. He would bring some controllable power to a lineup who would also fit the profile defensively for right field. Instead of Queens (or Houston), he will be contributing in Milwaukee in the not-to-distant future.
While Santana could become a nice player, Brett Phillips is the stud in this deal. The Florida native has had a tremendous season between Lancaster and Corpus Christi and has become a legit five-tool stud. He has slashed .320/.377/.548 between the two levels and also has 16 homers, 71 runs batted in and 15 stolen bases on the season. He also has 27 doubles and 11 triples on the season. The former sixth round pick in 2012 is also a plus defender who should be able to stick in center field. He also has one of the best throwing arms in the minors, so he should be able to play a corner as well. He brings speed, athleticism and defense to the table and also has a knock for getting on base (career .371 OBP). He could be a run producer near the middle of a lineup, but would also fit nicely at the top of the order as a catalyst. The Mets have not had one of those since Jose Reyes. Instead, he will bring the whole five-tool package with him to Milwaukee.
The Mets constantly fool themselves in thinking they are in contention when they are really not. Yes the Mets may be three games behind the Nationals for the division lead. But watching this team all season long, there is nothing besides the starting pitching that resembles anything like a playoff team. The Astros are looking to win now, and if the Mets called them and said that they were taking offers for a guy like Matt Harvey, who is under team control though 2018, the Astros would undoubtedly be interested. If these two players were traded for a year and a half of Carlos Gomez, I would have to believe they would be willing to give up both players and more for three plus years of Matt Harvey’s prime.
Harvey is not signing an extension and they could have traded him for a guy who was rumored to be untouchable to help their next wave of contending baseball. In true Mets fashion, they missed their chance, and Phillips and Santana are going to be helping the Brewers in the future instead. Just how good will they become in the future when Harvey is likely pitching elsewhere and what exactly did the Mets pass up? Only time will tell.