Carlos Gomez was traded twice at the deadline last year.
He only changed teams once, but two agreed to deals for him.
On the one hand, that's good news. It means two teams wanted him. On the other hand, it means the first of those two backed out.
And the one that got him might have wished it didn't.
The team that backed out was, of course, the Mets, citing the health of his hip, but they could have just as easily cited his lack of production.
A borderline first-rounder in Fantasy last year, the 30-year-old didn't live up to the billing, coaxing only about half as many home runs and stolen bases out of his broken body as in 2014.
And seemingly, he has a built-in excuse that I've alluded to twice already: his health -- namely that of his hip, but also his hamstring, wrist and intercostal muscle.
With those injuries constraining his every move, how can we take anything he did on the field seriously?
That's one way to look at it.
The other more meta way is to consider the journey that has brought us to this point with Gomez. He was actually just as good -- better, even -- in 2013 as in 2014, but while he was a borderline first-rounder last year, he wasn't even close two years ago.
Why is that? Well, few trusted in his breakout performance of three years ago. He had a high BABIP and little basis for the power numbers he was putting up. But then when he did more or less the same thing the following year, we came to accept it as normal. After all, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
And maybe it was normal for his skill set at that particular stage of his career, but maybe now he's entering a new stage where what we saw last year is normal. He did have a high BABIP those two years -- players who strike out as much as he does generally don't hit much better than .260 -- and by baseball standards, 30 isn't as young as it was, say, 10 years ago. It wouldn't be unthinkable for him to have lost a step, as his 65.4 percent success rate on stolen bases last year might suggest, and if his bat slows down as well ... well, let's just say his swing-at-anything approach makes him open for exploitation.
What I'm trying to say is that Gomez has a statistical predisposition to regression. His particular skill set -- the aggressive, quick-twitch, see-how-hard-you-can-hit-it-when-you-do type of hitter-- has a short shelf life. For as good as they are at their best, they often meet an abrupt and decisive end because they don't have the proficiency to carry them when their abilities begin to fade.
It's the skill set of Melvin Upton, of Ian Desmond, of Drew Stubbs. The one of Eric Byrnes, Preston Wilson and Jeff Francoeur. All had stretches when they were top power-speed guys, but all were short-lived and met, well, abrupt and decisive ends. We're still waiting to see with Desmond, of course, but he appears to be well on his way.
Call it bias if you want -- I wouldn't entirely disagree -- but it's a healthy bias, a core instinct to help navigate the uncertain world of baseball prognostication. And I'm not apologizing for it.
Maybe Gomez gets healthy and bounces back with something like first-round numbers. Hey, good for him. But given the possibility that his poor 2015 was the beginning of the end, I wouldn't want to pass up safer alternatives like Ryan Braun, Adam Jones or one of the many ace-caliber starting pitcher still available in the fourth or fifth round.
It couldn't be that easy, could it? Philosophical lines in the sand are great for columns and podcasts but often don't hold up when the rubber meets the road. And while I'm not at all enthusiastic about drafting Gomez this season, you know what I've found when the time comes to take him in the fifth round of a Rotisserie league? I need him.
Steals are scarce. If you haven't heard, last year was a 42-year low for them across the majors, excluding seasons with a work stoppage, so if you didn't grab Jose Altuve, , Dee Gordon, Starling Marte or Charlie Blackmon early, chances are you'll be hurting for them by the time Round 5 comes along. And Gomez represents one last chance to secure a bundle without sacrificing in other categories.
Of course, in reality, you will be sacrificing if he doesn't bounce back as hoped, but desperate times will make an optimist out of even me. Still, if your Plan A for steals is a guy who had all of 17 of them last year, it's fair to say you've messed up.
Plan ahead lest you take on more risk than necessary.