According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Mets have expressed interest in trading for Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez. If the Mets found a way to land Gomez, he would obviously provide an infusion of talent to the National League's worst offense. The 29-year-old has hit at least 19 home runs and stolen at least 34 bases in each of the previous three seasons and finished in the top-20 in NL MVP voting in each of the last two. But his journey to stardom was a long and tedious one, and it began with the Mets over a decade ago.
Gomez was first brought to the Mets' organization in 2002 when then-GM Steve Phillips signed him as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. A few years later, he began to emerge as an elite prospect. He won the Sterling Award as the best player in the Mets' farm system in 2005 and 2006 while in Single-A and Double-A respectively. After winning his second Sterling Award in 2006, some in the media went as far as to compare him to Willie Mays.
Before the 2007 season, Gomez was ranked by Baseball America as the third-best prospect in the Mets' system behind Mike Pelfrey and Fernando Martinez. He was called up by the team in May of 2007 after getting off to a hot start in Triple-A. When he made his debut on May 13 of that year, he became the National League's youngest player at age 21. Gomez stayed in the majors with the Mets for the remainder of that season, but played only sparingly. In 58 games, he batted .232/.288/.304 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 125 at-bats.
While he was considered to be a five-tool prospect, the tool that garnered Gomez the most praise was his speed. He was routinely compared to Jose Reyes for this aspect of his game, and did not disappoint in his first season in the majors. Despite posting subpar offensive numbers, Gomez dazzled on the basepaths, stealing 12 bases while being caught just three times. His athleticism also made him a solid defender in the outfield.
After the 2007 season, Gomez remained one of the team's top prospects. But following the September collapse of that year, the Mets needed an ace in their starting rotation to become a legitimate championship contender once again. So Gomez was traded along with three other prospects to the Twins for two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana in January of 2008.
Once in Minnesota, Gomez never quite developed into the player the Mets or Twins envisioned him to be. He became an enigma at times, and manager Ron Gardenhire even said that Gomez irritated him. He lasted just two years in Minnesota before the Twins shipped him to Milwaukee, where he had a breakout season in 2012 and eventually emerged as the star that he is today.
As was the case a decade ago, many are hoping that Carlos Gomez will be a part of the Mets' future plans. Although the circumstances around this hope are much different than they were when he was first with the organization, Gomez could be the missing piece the Mets need to provide some much-needed run support to a staff of pitchers that ranks among the best in all of baseball.