In the wake of Jose Reyes leaving the Mets in 2011 to take a $100 million deal to join the Marlins, the Mets turned to Ruben Tejada to start at shortstop. Tejada struggled, leaving Sandy Alderson to lean on veterans like Omar Quintanilla as he searched the free agent and trade markets for an everyday middle infielder.
If you recall, there were countless posts on every New York news site under the sun pointing to connections between the Mets and Mariners, as well as the Mets and D-backs, who were reportedly looking to deal 24-year-old SS Didi Gregorius. At the time, Gregorius was a career .243 hitter with just 13 home runs, despite 191 big league games under his belt.
Arizona had been shopping Gregorius for more than a year before he was eventually sent to the Yankees in a three-way deal that sent reliever Shane Greene to Detroit.
According to Dave Stewart -- Arizona's GM at the time -- he wanted an up-and-coming position player for Gregorius -- not pitchers Rafael Montero, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee, which is who Alderson had been offering.
In case you're wondering, in 2014, when Gregorius was traded, Amed Rosario was 18 years old and had yet to play above Short Season-A Brooklyn.
In the end, in return for Gregorius, the D-backs ended up acquiring LHP Robbie Ray and infield prospect Domingo Leyba from the Tigers, who got Greene from the Yankees. At the time of the deal, MLB.com ranked Ray as Detroit's No. 2 prospect, and Leyba, 19, was considered their eighth-best prospect.
"I also would not have traded Montero and, say, Rosario or Dilson Herrera, to get Gregorius, who has a lot of question marks surrounding him," I wrote at the time. "I've never viewed him as a significantly better option than Wilmer Flores, especially at the cost of Montero and a young infielder."
To be fair to my opinion and every other person that didn't want Alderson to trade for Gregorius, Didi didn't do much his first season with the Yankees, during which he had a .370 slugging percentage in 155 games while replacing Derek Jeter. However, the next two seasons he combined to hit 45 home runs with 157 RBI and bat .286. And, of course, this season he's making headlines by being the most productive shortstop in the American League...
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!