Let’s take a trip back to July 29, 2015. Wilmer Flores is at shortstop for the New York Mets, crying. Some may have figured he was emotional because the Mets were losing 7 to 2 at the time, others may have assumed he was frustrated from his last at-bat, and a select few may have thought that he was thinking about the tear-jerking scenes from Southpaw which had been released a week earlier. In reality, Wilmer Flores had been notified that he had been traded.
In Milwaukee, some were irate while others were overjoyed at the sight of Wilmer’s tears as they knew he, along with former top 10 pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, would be headed to the 414 in exchange for the Brewers’ all-star center fielder, Carlos Gomez. Brewers and Mets fans alike voiced their happiness or displeasure as social media outlets exploded and local bar patrons argued back and forth; however, at 11:13 PM, all were silent.
The blockbuster trade was no more. The Mets training staff saw an issue with Gomez’s hip (which had never given him problems) during his physical and backed off, ultimately cancelling the deal. Those in Milwaukee who were outraged, were pleased, while those who desired the services of the highly touted utility man and the potential ace became sullen.
The Brewers continued the search for a willing trade companion and found just that in the Houston Astros just a day later. Milwaukee parted ways with Carlos Gomez and starting pitcher Mike Fiers and received outfielders, Domingo Santana and Brett Phillips, along with pitchers, Adrian Houser and Josh Hader.
Now, let’s hop in the DeLorean again and come back to August 16, 2017. Carlos Gomez is now with the Texas Rangers. He hit a disappointing .221/.277/.342 over 126 games with Houston and was released in 2016. The Rangers picked him up and he has been serviceable posting a .260/.345/.480 with 23 home runs over 119 games (comparable to his years in Milwaukee.) Mike Fiers has been a decent back end starter for the Astros with a no-hitter, 4.24 ERA, and 64 home runs against in 64 games.
Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler are both with the Mets. Zack Wheeler missed two full years with Tommy John surgery. One and a half of these seasons would have been in Milwaukee had the original trade gone through. He earned a rotation slot this year, but has not had the most positive results posting a 5.21 ERA, 1.58 WHIP (walks/hits per inning pitched), and has found himself on the disabled list again with a biceps injury. Wilmer Flores is having a career year hitting .284/.318/.496 with 14 home runs and 38 RBI, but he has only seen action in 93 games. Essentially, he is the Mets’ version of Milwaukee’s Hernán Peréz without the ability to play in the outfield
The crop the Brewers have received has resulted in two full time MLB players, one that has had experience with the club, and one that had a cup of coffee with the Brewers through September call ups. Adrian Houser pitched two innings for the Brewers in 2015. He is currently on a rehab assignment in Rookie ball, but is normally a AA pitcher who has seen some struggles as he had a 5.25 ERA before being injured in 2016. Brett Phillips has bounced between AAA and the MLB this year. He has hit .229/.289/.429 in 39 plate appearances and has been great in the field, barring one error that occurred in his MLB debut. Phillips has emerged as the Brewers’ number 12 prospect and may be a future starter in Milwaukee.
The two we see the most often have assumed key roles on the playoff contending Brewers’ roster this year. Rookie bullpen arm, Josh Hader, has provided a lights-out left handed option for Craig Counsell to rely on. In 25.1 innings pitched, Hader has registered a 0.71 ERA with 32 strikeouts and only 2 earned runs given up. Hader is viewed as a future starting pitcher for the Brewers; however, the sample size that has been provided shows that he has the potential to contribute in a variety of roles. Right fielder Domingo Santana is the crown jewel at this point. As of August 17th, Domingo is hitting .269/.362/.464 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI through 116 games played. Because of this, he has become a fixture in the top half of the lineup as a cleanup and leadoff hitter.
That’s a lot of information. Your head may be spinning, so let’s recap what the Mets, Astros, and Brewers received or retained through this whole ordeal:
Mets: -2 playoff appearances, 53-65 in 2017 (18.0 GB in the NL East)
-Zack Wheeler: Has not played a full season since 2014
-Wilmer Flores: Utility man who is hitting over .270 for the first time in his 4.5 year career
Astros: -1 playoff appearance, 74-46 in 2017 (1st place in the AL West)
-Carlos Gomez: Released by the club after 126 games
-Mike Fiers: 4+ ERA in 3 seasons with the club
Brewers -Lowest payroll in baseball, 63-59 in 2017 (1.5 GB in the NL Central) -Adrian Houser: Injured, struggling in AA
-Brett Phillips: Club’s #12 prospect and has spent time up with the Brewers this year
-Josh Hader: ERA under 1, #1 left handed pitching prospect going into the 2017 campaign
-Domingo Santana: Club’s everyday right fielder, leadoff or 4 hitter most days
All teams involved can rejoice, but the team that has benefitted the most from the 2015 trade deadline has been the Milwaukee Brewers. Wilmer Flores may be having a career year for the Mets; however, Brewer fans owe him and his ball club a thank you for keeping his services. Without them declining the Gomez trade, the Brewers would not have their right fielder and top end left handed reliever this year along with a possible future starting outfielder. Only time will tell what the full return will be for the Brewers, but in the end, thank you, Wilmer Flores.