Reese Kaplan - Sometimes You Win Big

Someone in the comments area this week suggested we take a look at the best trades in Mets history.  That’s a hotly debated topic which should take into account the value of the players on both sides of the deal where one clearly outperformed the other as well as the value to the team of the new player received.  Sometimes you do have to give to get.  

So lets take a look at some of the better moments in Mets history including a few from the current regime then go back a ways in Mets history:

Marlon Byrd and John Buck to the Pirates in August for their pennant run.  They brought back Vic Black and Dilson Herrera.  Considering both players left the Pirates at the end of that season and the Mets are just beginning to enjoy the fruits of their bounty for years to come, this one is a no brainer for this list.

R.A. Dickey and knuckleball wrangling catcher Josh Thole to the Toronto Blue Jays for uber prospects Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud and wildcard young outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.  Dickey has not been anywhere near Cy Young caliber in Ontario.  His two years for Toronto have produced a 28 and 26 record with a mediocre 3.97 ERA.  One of the trio receive established himself as a force with the bat upon his return from Las Vegas last year. Syndergaard is the most often requested name in trade talks with the Mets and Becerra finished his age 19 season by batting .300 for the Kingsport Mets. 

There was also the salary dump of playoff goat Carlos Beltran for pitching stud prospect Zack Wheeler.  That one is a little more balanced as Beltran is still a productive player though, like Byrd and Beltran, did very little for his new club on the Bay for a month or so of play. Wheeler looks to be developing into a very solid middle of the rotation pitcher.

You Must Give to Get Category: 

  • Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Floyd Youmans and Herm Winningham to the Expos for Gary Carter
  • Preston Wilson, Geoff Goetz and Ed Yarnall to the Marlins for Mike Piazza
  • Carlos Gomez, Phillip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Delois Guerra to9 the Twins for Johan Santana
  • Rick Aguilera, David West, Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond and Jack Savage for Frank Viola
  • A.J.Burnett, Robert Stratton and Jesus Sanchez to the Marlins for Al Leiter and Ralph Milliard
  • Lee Mazzilli to the Rangers for Ron Darling and Walt Terrell
  • Walt Terrell to the Detroit Tigers for Howard Johnson
  • Shawn Estes to the Reds for perpetual Pedro Felician, Raul Gonzalez, Brady Clark and Elvin Andujar
  • John Christensen, Wes Gardner, Calvin Schiraldi and LaSchelle Tarver to the Red Sox for Bobby Ojeda, Chris Bayer, Tom McCarthy and John Mitchell
  • Grant Psomas, Mike Jacobs and Yusmeiro Petit to the Marlins for Carlos Delgado
  • Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey for Keith Hernandez

Highway Robbery Category: 

  • Pitcher Bill Denehy to the Washington Senators for the rights to manager Gil Hodges
  • Pitcher Tom Parsons to the Houston Astros for catcher Jerry Grote
  • Ed Hearn, Mauro Gozzo and Rick Anderson to the Kansas City Royals for David Cone and Chris Jelic
  • Robert Person to the Toronto Blue Jays for John Olerud
  • Bob Bailor and Carlos Diaz to the Dodgers for Sid Fernandez
I’ll leave it to the readers to rank ‘em (and also to point out any other significantly positive acquisitions


Will said...

I think all of those recent trades are exactly why fans cant wait to see what Alderson does when he finally trades a starting pitcher. Why else would people be so concerned over trading a back of the rotation guy.

Lew Rhodes said...

Well done Reese - this was my suggestion.

The Keith Hernandez trade needs to go down in the highway robbery category.

Neil Allen gave St Louis three middling years with a total of -0.2 WAR combined over those year. He had one decent year with the White Sox and was out of the league by the age of 31.

Hernandez gave the Mets 26.5 WAR over 6 and a half seasons.

That's doesn't measure his impact on the team in the clubhouse, etc.

When you "out WAR" the other team by close to 27 WAR, you really fleeced them a lot.

Zozo said...

I would even say that the Dickey trade netted us Vic Black, since we got buck in that trade as well.

Lew Rhodes said...

It would be interesting to see these trades in a WAR comparison.

I know WAR is not perfect, but it is a good multi-year, multi-player comparison tool - especially to compare pitchers to hitter and guys who different career arcs, etc.

For instance, I would have said the Hearn for Cone trade was the best Mets trade ever, but Cone accumulated 18ish WAR for the Mets while Hernandez garnered 27 WAR

Of course, the Cone trade could also get credit for the 8.5 WAR that Jeff Kent (acquired for Cone) brought to the team.

And, of course, there are values beyond strict stats - like Carter - the Kid trade wasn't a big "win" on the WAR side, but it gave the Mets a World Championship - which sure makes is a WIN.

Reese Kaplan said...

At the time when the Neil Allen/Keith Hernandez trade came down it had less to do with the respective talents and more to do with each club looking to rid itself of a clubhouse problem. Hernandez was part of the cocaine scandals that rocked baseball during that era and Allen was coming out of alcohol rehab. He had given interviews to the newspapers that were deemed unprofessional and highly critical of the Mets, so he was a goner.

Reese Kaplan said...

Here's an article about Allen's struggles:


Anonymous said...

I am surprised that the Delgado for Jacobs and Petit trade did not get mentioned yesterday or the DoLuca trade got left off. Were they greatest trades of all time? probably not, but talent for talent and what Delgado/DoLuca meant to those Mets teams probably were more impactful than the Mo Vaughn trade.
Anon Joe F

bob gregory said...

Joe F

Nice catch on Delgado & Deluca

Thomas Brennan said...

I am running out, so all I can say is the Sid Fernandez trade looms largest, in my opinion, due to the girth of El Sid. Thank goodness we had Mr Bailor (WHO!)to give up.

Sid with a lock down 3 inning pen would have been spectacular.

Lew Rhodes said...

It's LoDuca -Paul LoDuca.........

And, yes - the Delgado and LoDuca trades were net gainers - and propelled the team forward

Not sure that they fall into the "fleecing" category, but they were net winners

Anonymous said...

Typo on my part with LoDuca...I really did know who I was talking about
Anon Joe F

Reese Kaplan said...

I had considered Lo Duca and left him off the list due to the fact his tenure was just 2 seasons, only one of which was significant. Still, they gave up guys -- Dante Brinkley and Gaby Hernandez -- who never amounted to anything so it should be in the highway robbery category.

Michael Geus said...

Three that jump out to me:


It is hard to imagine the 1969 Mets winning the World Series without Agee or Clendenon. I sure can't.

Olerud was highway robbery.

Michael Geus said...

Sorry, missed Olerud there at the bottom of the post.

Damn these eyes!

Reese Kaplan said...

To get Agee you gave up a two-time All Star in Tommy Davis. To get Clendenon you didn't give up much, but he was there for 2.5 years, only one of which was significant -- 1970 -- and n0ot the .252 he hit for the World Champion team in 1969. To get him you gave up a guy in Steve Renko who pitched in the bigs for 14 years. Both would be cases of you have to give to get.

Olerud still seems like arguably the best trade they ever made.

Mike Geus said...

Olerud is nuts, and it included millions of dollars from Toronto to pay John. What were they thinking?

I still think Piazza is the best trade the Mets ever made, it doesn't matter who they gave up. It was Piazza. It was the reverse Seaver, the worst trade they ever made.

Mack's Mets © 2012