Most fans of baseball believed the Mets' acquisition of Yoenis Cespides for the playoff stretch run of 2015 nothing short of a miracle. Hitting at a .287 clip with 17 home runs and 44 runs batted in, the Cuban outfielder instantly added the offensive spark that the lagging Metropolitans' club needed to make its first playoff appearance in a decade and its first trip to the World Series since the turn of the century
But it all came at a steep price.
Since then, the ball club has lost its captain David Wright to spinal stenosis, first baseman Lucas Duda to stress fractures in his lower back, the Dark Knight Matt Harvey has been wildly ineffective on the mound, Jacob Degrom's child was born with medical problems, Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard both suffer from bone spurs, rookie Michael Conforto went from proverbial boom to bust, and virtually everyone else seems to have had some sort of twist, sprain or strain as the ball club keeps sinking in the NL East. Topping it all off, former Met Daniel Murphy is having a career year for the rival first-place Washington Nationals.
So what happened?
"Well," General Manager Terry Alderson stated in an interview last week, "we didn't really want to do it, but we had no choice. When you're in a big market like New York, you have to deal with the Devil sometimes. And that's what we did - we made a deal with the Devil himself. That's how we avoided getting (then Brewers outfielder) Carlos Gomez and getting Cespides. I mean, we did get to the World Series."
Could it be? An actual Faustian pact with Lucifer himself in the year 2015?
"It sounds drastic," John Ricco, assistant to Alderson said, "but Lucifer came to us with a pretty solid deal, one we just thought we had to make. We got the offense we needed, but Lucifer has been making pacts for a long time. I mean, he makes Scott Boras look like a rookie. George Steinbrenner had nothing on him."
Manager Terry Collins admitted that everyone involved was a bit overzealous and maybe didn't read the fine-print well enough. "Looking back, we all just kind of were sniffing the playoffs and we got caught up. We didn't look at some of the language in the deal and that came back to bite us. We just didn't know it was going to be our entire starting line-up."
Special assistant J.P. Ricciardi said there were "escape clauses" in the original language of the deal, but that they were too drastic even for a New York City executive. "Instead of the entire starting line-up being destroyed, we could have sacrificed some souls. Lu - Lucifer as you know him - was really keen on the souls of some greats from the past. He's a huge Mets fan and baseball in general. He was very keen on Tom Seaver, but he would have settled for Keith Hernandez and some prospects. Seaver would have taken one for the team as always, but his wife was very vocal about him not sacrificing his soul. With Hernandez, there was some conflict of interest according to Lu. I guess they did some business together in the '80's."
"We'll have to see what kind of interest there is from Lu when Zack Wheeler comes off the DL," Sandy Alderson explained. "Maybe we can package him with someone from the past like a Darryl Strawberry or a Dwight Gooden. Those guys would be a good fit for Lu, at least we think so."
Until then, the Mets front office warns, it's going to be a long road. The injuries, the frustration and the losses won't stop here, not until the Devil gets his due.