Mets players come and go. Farm system proteges make it to the big club, but they don’t stay. Others get traded away. Catching up with a few…
Many consider the Mets organization to become one of the best in baseball since the transfer of ownership from the Wilpons to Steve Cohen.
Teams often make mistakes in evaluating players, and the Mets have not been immune to making them.
Not every draft pick pans out. Some die quickly as the competition increases on the way up in the minors. Others make it all the way to the Mets, only to die a slow death, and eventually, they are released or traded.
At other times, the tightness of a team’s roster causes them to leave a player exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, whereupon they are selected by another team and subsequently lost to the Mets.
Following are some of those decisions made by the Mets (good and bad) with a brief “where are they now?” update on each.
Asdrubal Cabrera, Third Baseman, Arizona Diamondbacks
Asdrubal Cabrera played for three years in a Mets uniform, appearing in 374 games from 2016-2018. An average fielder, Cabrera played shortstop (mostly), second and third base, Cabrera’s value came mostly with the bat.
Signed as a free agent in December 2015, during his time with the Mets, Cabrera averaged .279, with almost twenty home runs each season.
A free agent three times since then, Cabrera signed with and played for the Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals before joining the Diamondbacks, where he currently holds a regular role as their third baseman.
Still good with the stick, at 35, Cabrera holds a .289 BA with 13 of his 33 hits going for extra bases. Presently, he is assigned to the 10-day IL.
Wilmer Flores, Second Baseman, San Francisco Giants
Wilmer Flores will forever be lodged in Mets lore as the innocent-looking Venezuelan who burst into tears when he heard whispers in the stands that he had been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. (video here)
Later, the deal fell through, and Flores continued his six-year stint with the Mets through the 2018 season.
Adequate in the field, dividing time at all four infield positions with the Mets, Flores never got off the ground on offense. Over six seasons, he averaged .262 with a sub-par .303 OBP and .727 OPS.
Reaching free agency in November 2018, Flores signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in January 2019.
Appearing in more than half of the D-Backs games in 2019, Flores thrived there, raising his BA to .317, with a .361 OBP and a .868 OPS.
A free agent after the season again, Flores signed with the San Francisco Giants, where he has been for the past two seasons.
So far this year, Flores has been alternating stints on the Injured List (IL) with Donovan Solano as the Giants’ second baseman. It’s Flores’ turn now with a hamstring injury that could keep him away from the action for longer than ten days.
Suffice to say, Wilmer Flores has landed on his feet after some heady days in New York.
Mets 2015 ALCS MVP, Daniel Murphy
Daniel Murphy notched his legacy in Mets history with an explosion unlike any ever seen before during the 2015 NLDS (Dodgers) and the NLCS (Cubs) that launched the Mets into their last appearance in the World Series.
In just nine games and 38 at-bats, Murphy hit seven home runs while collecting eleven RBI and was named the MVP of the NLCS.
Sub-par at times in the field, Murphy built his career as a magician with the bat, falling just four points shy of being a career .300 hitter over his twelve seasons in the majors.
Inexplicably, the Mets thought it was a good idea to grant Murphy free agent status in December 2015. Many attributed this faux-pas as another in the series of penny-pinching moves by the then-owner Wilpon family.
Murphy signed with the Washington Nationals, earning $37.5 million during his three-year tenure there. A free agent again in 2019, Murphy signed a three-year deal with the Colorado Rockies for $24 million, the last year of which was bought out by the Rockies for the 2021 season.
Recognizing his declining skills, Murphy announced his retirement from baseball in January 2021 at age 36.
Believing him to be one of those “baseball lifers” with a choice of coaching and managing jobs before him, Murphy said no – I’m going back to college to get the degree I left behind way back when.
Telling Sports Spectrum, Murphy put it this way: “I think originally, I wanted to go back to school to get my degree, or at least I thought I did depending on how much they were going to ask of me,” Murphy said. “They only asked two classes, which I really needed, like, 10 probably, because I left a year early. I figured two classes, and you’ve got to take that. It would be irresponsible and a bit lazy not to do it.”
Murphy indicated his decision to retire was made easier because of the family time he had during the extended breaks that came with the Coronavirus, saying about his kids, “Our kids are great. They’re little provocateurs. They’re awesome, though. But I was like, ‘I get all of you a lot more.’ I’d never seen it that way.” (Note: I had to look it up too – it means mischief-makers)
Sure to receive a standing ovation from Mets fans the first time Daniel Murphy is welcomed back to Citi Field, that was really something in 2015.
Yoenis Cespedes, Free Agent
Yoenis Cespedes gets an A for effort for everything he did midseason forward to launch the Mets into the playoffs and eventually the World Series in 2015, but he gets an F- for everything that came after that.
Traded by the Detroit Tigers to the New York Mets for Luis Cessa and Michael Fulmer at the July trade deadline in 2015, Cespedes carried the Mets with seventeen home runs and 44 RBI in the final 57 games of the season.
Nearly all fans of the Mets and baseball are more than familiar with the litany of injuries and questionable if not bizarre behavior of Cespedes, which raised the ire and frustration level of nearly everyone associated with the Mets.
Lest we forget, though, the Mets elected to reward Cespedes with a $90 million contract in 2016, which finally expired in 2020.
Today, Cespedes remains a free agent, and the chances of a team signing him remain as slim Jacob deGrom striking out four times in a game.
Attempting to regain the spotlight, Cespedes held a showcase for teams on March 2 in Fort Pierce, Fla. There were and still are no takers.
Perhaps, the biggest sin Cespedes made came when he was seemingly healthy again, but managed to play only eight games once the 2020 season began, but opted out on Aug. 2, seemingly without telling the club – which issued a statement saying that they couldn’t get in touch with him before that day’s game.
Even Dwight Gooden, who’s been known to have problems of his own, was quoted as saying, “He may get blackballed next year, and I’m OK with that,” Gooden said on the New York Post’s “Amazin’ But True” podcast.
Sitting at home with most of the $143 million collected over the years doesn’t sit right with this fan and perhaps many others.
But if Gooden is right, then just desserts have been served.
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