The road that led Carlos Gomez back to the New York Mets was a long and unconventional one. He began his career as a top prospect in New York and debuted for the team on May 13, 2007, but he found himself part of a blockbuster trade for Johan Santana at the conclusion of the season that landed him in Minnesota. In the years that followed, he failed to meet the sky-high expectations that came with his top prospect billing and bounced around the league.
He enjoyed measured success in 2013 and 2014 with the Milwaukee Brewers and earned back-to-back All Star appearances along with a top-10 MVP finish and a Gold Glove nod in 2013. With his stock rising, he was seen as a potential game-changing acquisition during the 2015 deadline for a playoff contender looking to bolster their outfielder. As a result, he was almost part of a July trade in 2015 that would have landed him back in New York in return for Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler, but it was not meant to be. Every Mets fan know the story of Flores crying on the field as news of the deal spread, of the trade falling through, and of walk-off Wilmer’s heroics two nights later. It seemed that, even with Gomez long removed from his days in Queens, he was inextricably linked with the team that signed him as an international free agent 13 years earlier.
The two sides finally reunited when the Mets signed him to a minor league deal in March to serve as some added outfield depth. Gomez started the year in Triple-A Syracuse proved he could still contribute, hitting .270/.329/.500 with six home runs through mid-May. With Michael Conforto suffering a concussion and with offseason acquisition Keon Broxton floundering at the plate, the team decided to DFA Broxton and select Gomez’s contract on May 17. After 12 years, Gomez was officially back.
He made his season debut later that night, 4,248 days after he made his final appearance for the franchise. He started in right field for the team against the Miami Marlins and went hitless in three plate appearances before being replaced by Brandon Nimmo. He pinch hit the next night and entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth on Sunday afternoon, although he returned to New York still searching for his first hit.
The most memorable stretch of Gomez’s season took place in the next series as the team looked to rebound from demoralizing sweep in Miami. Gomez got the start in each of the team’s four games against the Washington Nationals, driving home a run on Monday with a third inning double. After back-to-back hitless evenings, Gomez made headlines on Thursday afternoon with two noteworthy plays. First, he stole second base in the bottom of the fifth and proceeded to lose his shoe as he headed for third following a throwing error. The fun was just getting started for Gomez, who blasted a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth to give him team a 6-4 lead and guide them to a four-game sweep.
During all this, Mets fans were introduced to “Ye Ye Ye”, a rallying cry that came from one of the outfielder’s favorite reggaeton singers. His teammates enjoyed the exclamation enough that it found regular use in the clubhouse and in pregame and postgame interviews, even spawning fanmade merchandise with the three-word phrase. It was the perfect chant at the perfect time for a team coming off a big sweep of a division rival and finishing off a 6-1 homestand.
I’m speculating here, but there’s a good chance that Carlos Gomez shouted “Ye, ye, ye!” as Tomas Nido rounded the bases last night.— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) May 26, 2019
For those interested (aka everyone), here’s where that comes from: pic.twitter.com/XEIJS5DOMw
Gomez appeared in 17 straight games for the team and started in 12 of 14 through June 2. In 46 plate appearances in May, he slashed .231/.333/.385 with a 97 wRC+, providing serviceable offense in the absence of the team’s regular outfielders. June was much less kind to the 33-year-old, as he hit .170/.231/.298 with a 41 wRC+ in 53 plate appearances over 16 games. He hit his second dinger at Citi Fielder against the Colorado Rockies and his last one against the New York Yankees on the road three days later. His offense diminished, and he saw his playing time dwindle throughout the month. As the team began an 11-game road trip, he only got three starts and mostly served as a late-game defensive replacement or a pinch hitter.
After appearing in 34 games and picking up 99 plate appearances, he was designated for assignment on June 30 to make room for Noah Syndergaard, who was returning from the injured list following a hamstring strain. He finished the year hitting .198/.278/.337 with three home runs, four stolen bases, a 67 wRC+ and a -0.4 bWAR for the Mets. He was eventually released and spent the remainder of 2019 as a free agent without getting signed by another club.
If nothing else, the return of the prodigal son was a nice full circle footnote for the 2019 season. While the impact on the field levels something to be desired, it generated an interesting story, some fun moments, and one memorable chant. Ye ye ye forever.