Mets’ deal to acquire Gomez from Brewers falls apart
In a bizarre confluence of the looming trade deadline, the nature of social media and its effect on how baseball is covered, a deal that had been agreed upon by the Mets and Brewers hit a snag at the last minute Wednesday night.
For three hours, rumors about a megadeal raced across social media. The trade would have sent Carlos Gomez back to the Mets for Zack Wheeler and Wilmer Flores.
The reports hit the smartphones of the fans in the stands, who gave Flores a standing ovation, their salute before his supposed trade to the Brewers.
Tears welled up in Flores’ eyes, overcome by the emotion of being dealt from the only team he has ever known, the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela.
It turns out it was all for nothing.
By the end of a harried night at Citi Field, the deal had been agreed upon, contingent upon the review of medical records, only to have fallen apart all within the span of nine innings.
The reason is still unclear.
“There is no trade,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. “Unfortunately, social media got ahead of the facts and it may have had an adverse affect for one of the players involved. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
Alderson declined to get into details of the talks with the Brewers, which according to multiple sources, involved both teams agreeing to the players in a deal. Only medical clearance remained until it fell apart.
Flores, his eyes still red, was summoned into the office of manager Terry Collins following the game. He was informed that there was no deal, despite fans giving him a standing ovation when he came to bat late in the game.
“During the game I heard about getting traded. I got emotional,” Flores said. “When I came in, they told me there was no trade.”
It is typical for players to be pulled once trades are agreed upon in principle. But Flores played on, his emotions laid bare.
Wheeler, rehabbing in Florida after Tommy John surgery, followed the developments on social media. As did Gomez, who was on the team’s charter from San Francisco to Milwaukee.
A teammate took a selfie with Gomez, wishing him well on his trade to the Mets. It never happened.
As constructed, the deal would have given the Mets the final piece of their midseason roster retrofitting. Gomez is a two-time All-Star and former Met, who was traded to the Twins in 2008 to acquire Johan Santana.
Gomez, 29, is hitting .266 with eight homers and 43 RBIs. But in the previous two seasons, he has been one of the most productive outfielders in all of baseball, an offensive force as well as a Gold Glover in center field.
He had flourished in Milwaukee and would have started in center field for the Mets, displacing the banged-up Juan Lagares in the short term.
The Brewers thought they were getting a future ace in Wheeler, who won’t pitch until next July. They have also long valued Flores and envisioned him as a third baseman.
But all of those plans will remain unrealized, leaving the Mets to fill a hole in their lineup and perhaps mend some hard feelings.
Alderson has already apologized to Flores.
The deadline looms at 4 p.m. Friday. When asked if the Mets were done adding pieces, Alderson replied succinctly.
“It’s not Friday yet,” he said.