In just 24 hours, Wilmer Flores went from trade bait to franchise folk hero
Wilmer Flores turns 27 on Monday, and he does so in the midst of yet another solid season for the Mets -- a 3-for-5 day against the Braves on Sunday bumped his 2018 slash line up to a very Flores-esque .272/.328/.456, to go with 10 homers in 90 games. All of those rank at or near the top of the team leaderboard, and at this point, he's one of New York's most reliable players.
This time three years ago, though, things were ... different. Armed with the best young rotation in baseball (and, most importantly,
In the middle of the team's matchup against the Padres on July 29, reports began to surface that a trade was imminent: New York would send Flores and top pitching prospect
When he took his next at-bat, he got a lovely standing ovation from the Citi Field crowd, convinced they were saying goodbye:
Except, well, it turned out everybody had jumped the gun: A hip problem had popped up during Gomez's physical, nixing the deal. New York was forced to look for another right-handed bat, and with just minutes to go before the Deadline, it found a big one -- acquiring
The division-leading Nationals came to town that night for a three-game series that would go a long way toward determining whether the Mets were contenders. Citi Field was very happy to see its starting shortstop still around:
And then, 11 innings later, the impossible happened: Flores won the game with a walk-off homer.
And thus began the Month of Wilmer. From July 31 to Aug. 28, Flores hit a blistering .333/.364/.571 with four homers, and the Mets won 16 of their next 23 games to take command of the NL East.
The man has a knack for doing cool stuff on his birthday, but no matter what he has cooked up for 2018, it'll be tough to top that magical run. It inspired possibly the world's first two-faced bobblehead, after all: