On the night of July 30, 2006, one day before that season's trade deadline, Mets reliever Duaner Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during a late-night cab accident while traveling to a restaurant in Miami.
"I guess if I could do it again, I'd convince him to eat at the hotel," Mets assistant GM John Ricco recently told MLB.com's Anthony DiComo.
Sanchez emerged early in 2006 to be one of the league's elite set-up men with a 2.60 ERA in 49 appearances, including a 21-inning scoreless streak to start the season.
"Our bullpen was among the best in baseball at that point, and Duaner was a huge part of that," Ricco explained to DiComo. "Not only did we lose him, but it kind of changed our whole view of what we needed to do."
According to reports at that time, the Mets had been working to acquire another starting pitcher. However, after learning of Sanchez's accident, they reversed course and tried to find a new set-up man instead.
In the end, they acquired reliever Roberto Hernandez and starting pitcher Oliver Perez from the Pirates for outfielder Xavier Nady.
Sanchez returned to pitch in 2008. However, he struggled before retiring the following season, going 6-2 with 5.08 ERA and just 46 strike outs in the 69 innings after the car accident.
The Mets were trying to trade for Jason Schmidt, Roy Oswalt and Barry Zito, while offering Nady, Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilman and others. I have no idea who was next on the list, but any would have been helpful later in the year when Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez were limping down the stretch.
Of course, Hernandez did well. And, though his name and contract eventually became a source of several headaches, Perez played an important role that postseason. So, it kind of, sort of worked out. But, there is no way to know if it would have gone better had that irresponsible drunk driver didn't sideswipe his journey to a restaurant the night before an off day.