Sunday Weekend Edition - Best New York Mets Trades 2001-2008


Best New York Mets Trades 2001-2008

Lew Rhodes asked me to go back into the Mets history books and make a list of all the great trades the Mets made from 1962 to present I chose to attack this by first looking at the period between 2001-2008, a period that all of us currently would have an attachment to. After looking at those results, I chose to stop there.

First of all, the Mets just don’t make a lot of trades. And, secondly, the ones they have made have either not gone the way they wanted them to or they were considered small potatoes.

Here are the best over these eight years:

12/27/01      Acquired 1B Mo Vaughn and cash from the Angels for P Kevin Appier
Vaughn only played 2002 (487-AB, 26-HR, .259) and parts of 2003 (79-AB, .190) for the Mets.

Appier had one good year for the Angels (2002, 14-12, 3.93, was then traded to the Royals and eventually faded away in 2006.

            Advantage Mets due to the 26 home runs.

1/4/06           Acquired RHP Duaner Sanchez and RHP Steve Schmoll from the Dodgers in exchange for RHP Jae Seo and LHP Tim Hamulack

Sanchez pitched two seasons for the Mets, 2006 (5-1, 2.62, 49-appearances) and 2008 (5-1, 4.34, 66-appearances He ended his pro career with San Diego in 2009.
Seo was basically a bust after leaving the Mets (2006: Rays, 1-8, 5.00… the Dodgers 2-4, 4.78… and back with the Rays in 2007 (3-4, 8.13).

Again, not a blockbuster, and much more famous for his cab ride, but advantage Mets.

7/31/06        Acquired RHP Roberto Hernandez and LHP Oliver Perez from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for OF Xavier Nady

Hernandez pitched two years for the Mets, 2005 (8-6, 2.57, 67-G) and 2006 (0-0, 3.43, 22-G). Olive pitched five good year for the Mets, winning 29 games from 2006-2010.

Nady went on to eight more years, including last season. The last three teams he played for were the Giants (2012: .240), the Nats (2012: .157) and San Diego (2014: .135).

            Not a blockbuster deal but advantage Mets.

7/30/07        Acquired 2B Luis Castillo from the Twins in exchange for non roster C Drew Butera and non-roster OF Dustin Martin.

            This is an easy one.

            Castillo played four years for the Mets and finished his career as the Mets (2007-2010)  starting second baseman. His highlight year was his third as a Met (2009: 486-AB, .302).

            Butera is a defensive specialist that is still banging around the league. He hit .188 for the Dodgers last season. Martin never made it to the pros and actuall returned to the Mets chain in 2012, playing for Binghamton and Buffalo.

            This was an excellent trade for the Mets.       

           (I remember this day, going to Grayson Stadium with the confirmation of the trade. I gave the piece of paper to Tim Tuefel who didn't say a word. He was obviously upset and never offered an explanation for his silence. He eventually gave me back the piece of paper and went on to practice)

11/30/07      Acquired OF Ryan Church and C Brian Schneider from the Washington Nationals in exchange for OF Lastings Milledge.

Church played two seasons for the Mets… 2008 (319-AB, .276) and 2009 (232-AB, .280). He was, at best, disappointing as a Met and finished his career the following season for Arizona and Pittsburgh.

Schneider was even more disappointing, hitting .257 (335-AB) in 2008 and .218 (170-AB) in 2009.


The good news was Lastings was a complete bust. He’s banging around Japan for the last three seasons and, thankfully, we’ve seen the last of him.

1/5/08           Acquired OF Angel Pagan from the Cubs for non-roster OF Corey Coles and non-roster RHP Ryan Meyers

            This is easier than the Castillo trade.

Pagan, though often injured, remains a star of the game. He’s the starting center fielder for the Giants.

Coles career ended in 2008. He never got out of AAA. Meyers career also ended in 2008, the year he was traded.

            Big, big advantage Mets.

2/2/08           Acquired LHP Johan Santana from the Twins for OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Deolis Guerra, RHP Philip Humber and RHP Kevin Mulvey

This trade really comes down to Santana vs. Gomez and I’m sure some will vote the other way, but Santana brought to the Mets the respect the team didn’t have for years. 46 wins in four seasons, including the team’s first no hitter.

In defense of Gomez, he has become an all-star centerfielder (2013 Brewers: .284, 24-HR, 73-RBI and 2014 Brewers: .284, 23-HR, 73-RB), but I’m sticking with Johan.

Advantage Mets.

Beyond these, nothing. Not even close, and I’d turn your stomach if I broke out all the trades that went the wrong way.

Again, the Mets don’t trade very often and maybe it’s because they haven’t been very good at it.


Anonymous said...

Any reader can see this blog always has an exceptionally rosy view of the Mets prospects and future, but sometimes the homer-ism on this blog reaches epic proportions like today.

One of the BEST trades the Mets made was getting Mo Vaughn for Kevin Appier?


Post trade Mo Vaughn accumulated O fWAR: he was worth 0.6 fWAR in the first year after the trade, and -0.6 fWAR in the second trade.

Post trade Kevin Appier was worth 3.1 fWAR. Nothing great, but certainly better than Mo Vaughn's 0 fWAR.

The Mets also paid Vaughn something like $50 million for his three remaining contract years (only two of which he played) whereas Kevin Appier had - if I recall correctly - $32 million remaining on his contract when the trade was made, so the Mets assumed something like an additional $18 million for Vaughn and the 0.0 fWAR he would contribute as a Met.

One thing Mack tends to get fixated on is one component of a player's performance - here, Vaughn hit 29 total homeruns for the Mets (26 first year, 3 second year) without looking at other aspects (notably in this particular circumstance that Vaughn was an awful defensive player - he made Ryan Howard's defensive skills look good).

Many of these other "Best Trades" have similar analysis problems: for example, you cite Schneider's batting average without ever mentioning his defensive value (where he contributed) or other offensive stats like on base percentage or slugging percentage (where he admittedly did not contribute much). Batting average, in and of itself, is a very hollow stat.

On a more ancillary note, the Castillo trade was a good trade in terms of value surrendered, but the decision by Omar to re-sign Castillo to a four year deal was a huge blunder that is probably worth mentioning.

Not sure I would classify the Santana trade as a "best" trade either. Similar to batting average, citing wins alone is a very hollow stat. But that trade is more debatable.

Citing the Vaughn trade as a "best" Mets trade cannot be supported by any reasonable measure.


bob gregory said...


Remember the premise Mack stated here, there really were not many positive trades that the Mets made in this time period.
None of these trades mentioned may have been wonderful.

Mack simply listed the trades during this time period that were the most positive for the Mets.

With that in mind, is Vaughn vs Appier really worth debating?

Anonymous said...

Bob, what the post says is that these are the BEST trades.

So if there are no best trades, or limited best trades, that is one thing.

To write that the acquisition of Mo Vaughn was a "best trade" is kind of ridiculous.

Also Mack's memory is much different than mine as he says things like "Ollie pitched five good year[s] for the Mets..."

Really? Ollie pitched five good years for the Mets? I don't think so, not by any reasonable measurement.


Thomas Brennan said...

Those trades were not spectacular (Santana, maybe, but they paid the little guy with a lot of innings mileage way too much).

To me, it is a cautionary tale of wishful thinking going outside the organization. I'm glad we've got as much relatively cheap talent as we do now. Trade the surplus to get strong younger prospects in the months to come.

Here's a bold and perhaps loony trade thought: Mike Trout for Thor, Matz, Plawecki and Nimmo. We'll also throw in Gee, Niese or Colon. No idea if Angels have any such needs, but the crazy thought just popped into my head, so I thought (unresearched) I'd toss it out there.

bob gregory said...

Read Mack's 2nd full paragraph.

If that helps you to understand where I believe Mack was heading with this.... great.

If not.... ok also.
Either way is fine by me.

Or...... could this be another:
"Mack slipping something into his morning Report that he hopes creates a strong reaction (like Anthony's) to kick start the responses"

Hmm , sly fox Mack?

Richard Jones said...

I have to agree with the first author of the first comment.
The Vaughn trade was very lop sided against the Mets. They paid him 17+ million in each of 2003 and 2004. He did absolutely nothing in those years. What could the Mets have added in those days with 17 million?
He was also bad in the club house and very bad on the bases and in the field. I was at a game where he got picked off twice. Why was he even taken a lead. He was so fat he couldn't move.

Ernest Dove said...

I always think its cute when someone gets a little internet crazy about a METS FAN website being pro Mets.
Is it too soon to classify the Dickey trade as THE greatest in franchise history?

Lew Rhodes said...

Mack - thanks for taking a look at this

I can't believe that the Mets had no really good trades during that window - speaks volumes of Phillips and Minaya

The issue with the Castillo and Ollie trades weren't the trades, but the awful contracts that Omar gave them after trading for them.

I hope everyone complaining about Sandy not making trades takes a look at this list and realizes that over a 7 year period 2 GMs failed to make one really strong trade that greatly tipped in the Mets favor

The Santana trade would be in the running if not for the massive contract that came with the trade.

In comparison, Sandy has made 3 trades that were better than any of the trades above - Wheeler, TdA and Thor, and Black and Herrera blow any trade up there away

Lew Rhodes said...

It has a little ways to go to pass the Hernandez and Carter acquisitions

I think Ed Hearns for Cone was the biggest win trade for the Mets ever - plus remember Cone was the traded for Jeff Kent - who then was given away stupidly

Anonymous said...

Bob, what the second paragraph says is that the Mets don't make too many trades.

What that doesn't mean is that you take a bad trade, and call it a good trade because there isn't a lot of trades to evaluate.

Mack arbitrarily called seven trades "the best trades the Mets made 2001-2008" - he could have left the Mo Vaughn trade out and called the remaining six trades "the best trades the Mets made 2001-2008."

The Mo Vaughn cannot be called one of the best trades by any reasonable standard of measurement - read Richard Jones' comment above as he is right on point. Mo Vaughn made Ryan Howard's work around the first base bag look good.

The Santana trade can be called one of the best trades - it's arguable - but I don't agree. Santana pitched well when healthy and contributed some memorable moments such as the no hitter and the late season game against the Marlins, but it wasn't one of the "best" because the Mets gave up Gomez, a very good player who has put up 22.3 fWAR through his age 28 season (he will play all of 2015 at age 29).

In effect, the Mets gave up someone who could have been a big part of their future for some short term gains. Think of a lesser version of the Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz trade: the Tigers got a lights out Alexander (for one year and good for a second), but gave up a future Hall of Famer. Not saying Gomez is a future HoF, but the Mets gave up someone who'd look awfully good in LF or RF instead of those dinosaurs Grandy and Cuddy in exchange for Santana, someone who had 3.5 good years with the Mets.

So I wouldn't call the Santana trade one of the best, but rather a wash - it was good in the short term in exchange for a big sacrifice in the future.

But this point is arguable.

What is really not arguable is (1) the Mo Vaughn trade was not good for the Mets - it actually was a major factor in Steve Phillips losing his job and (2) Oliver Perez did not give the Mets "five good years". Uh no.


Lew Rhodes said...

Last comment - I have always found Pagan frustrating and over rated to a degree

He had one excellent year with the Mets and had multimedia injury filled frustrating years - even with the Giants, he had one great year and has missed a lot of time

Also, remember he was in the system and got grabbed by the Cubs - I think on the minor league rule 5 - and then we traded to get him back. You can almost erase the trade by realizING we gave him up for nothing before that!

bob gregory said...

And.? ......go on......

The rest of that 2nd paragraph?

bob gregory said...


Remember during those years Minaya & Philips did not rely on the trade as their primary source of player acquisition. They focused on free agency.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Sanchez trade was great; he was really outstanding for the Mets. That cab ride was just a devastating loss.

I agree with the anonymous poster, impossible to think of the Vaughn trade as a positive.


Anonymous said...

I think it is funny that the resident "whiner" (aka bob) is now defending the past regimes' horrible moves (OK, by proxy in his effort to run to Mack's defense).

Yet, he can't generate one ounce of positive energy when it comes to the current front office (who are clearly much more adept then our past GM's, highlighted by the "trades" that started this article).

What will be very entertaining is seeing ol' bob's tune change when the Mets are playing good baseball and he can't justify ripping our management.

Oh and as far as anonymous' take on this being a pro-Mets blog, I wouldn't necessarily agree. The way some of the regulars on this site treat our management and players makes you wonder if this is a Braves' or Yankees' blog.

Anonymous said...

I would love to get Steve Phillips on a podcast and tell him that diehard Mets fans Mack Ade and Bob Gregory think that the Mo Vaughn trade was one of the best from 2001-2008.

I think after saying that there would be dead silence and then Phillips would start laughing.

That trade was a major factor in Phillips getting fired.

Mack's optimism is great but as I said above he too often looks at one aspect of a player (he hit 26 homeruns his first year!) and doesn't do a totality of the circumstances / top to bottom consideration (on salary, defense, on base percentage, clubhouse attitude, etc. ad infinitum Mo Vaughn was a total failure).


Ernest Dove said...

Quick, somebody mention the Jason Bay signing. This is fun.

Mack Ade said...

Folks -

Don't bother arguing with Anthony, who at least leaves his name.

He comes here to criticize both me and the site and that's just find.

And, in this case, he's missing the whole point.

By the way...

I'm working from a remote computer because mine crashed with something called 'The Black Death'.

Nothing positive about this, Anthony.

Oh... one more thing...

I do appreciate your posts which are very intelligent. I just never have found anyone that found me to be this much of a 'positive' Mets poster

Mack Ade said...

sorry about the spelling also

bob gregory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob gregory said...

Sorry to hear about the computer mack.

I'm also sorry to hear I'm a whiner now?

Please be clear on one thing though. I believe, have believed, applauded the fact that under Alderson's watch the Mets farm system has strengthened.
I have not enjoyed that it came while sacrificing the major league roster.

I have simply pointed out that Alderson proved he is great at trading something he doesn't want or need to a team that desperately wants it.

He has not proven that he is capable of trading for something the major league team wants or needs immediately.

By the way I am not the only Macks Mets follower that has a similar opinion of Alderson.

I believe Alderson was a successful GM for the rebuilding Mets.
I also believe his style going forward is limiting when it comes to assembling a championship roster and retaining successful players as they progress toward costing more money.

And to be clear I never said one way or the other that I believe Vaughn/Appier trade was good or bad. I simply expressed that I thought Anthony missed the point Mack was making about this time period. Not many trades. No really successful trades. It came down to trying to see which turd shined the best.
As a fan I couldn't care less about the salaries. Vaughn vs Appier?.??
Ho hum on each

Steve from Norfolk said...


I believe what you describe in the first paragraph of your post is commonly referred to in MLB as a "rebuild", and is what Alderson's primary task was when he was brought here. I think he has succeded very well at this, having raised the ranking of the Mets' farm system from 29th to 4th in 5 years while staffing the major league team primarily with the proceeds of said "rebuild". This primarily homebuilt team is expected to finish second in the division this year, as well as contend for a Wild Card spot. No, they didn't get every great deal (or any, this year) for the major league team. But, you have to take into account that baseball IS a business, and it's not very good business to give away assets you still owe a large paycheck to for a number of years for a bag of balls. Especially after one or two years, and when you have rebuilt the walls in your park to take advantage of their strengths.
bob, one thing I have noticed in your posts is that your hindsight is 20-20. I don't see much indication of foresight. This team, with one (SS) or maybe two (power hitter) long term (3-4 year) deals, is set up to win for many years. The pitching is outstanding, we have 5 players who should hit on the close order of 20 HR's each this year, and maybe for the first time in the Mets' history, we have a young team , mostly pre-arb. mostly around 25. I hesitate to use the "d" word, but that is what we are building. bob, forget the hindsight, get some glasses, and work on the foresight for a while.

"The future's so bright, I've gotta wear shades!"

Richard Jones said...


You misquoted me.
"Richard Jones' comment above as he is right on point. Mo Vaughn made Ryan Howard's work around the first base bag look good."
You are the one who made that point. I did say I agreed with your post in general about the Vaughn trade being a bad one. I never even mentioned Ryan Howard in my post.
I like the writers at this site and yes, I do disagree with them at times and there is good conversation.
Please don't misquote me to disrespect those at this site and to make an ass of yourself. There is a proper way to have a conversation.

bob gregory said...

I'm buying myself a new pair of shades and crossing my fingers.

Be fair though Steve, looking back informs for the future.
When I use foresight.......such as worrying Alderson will lose the Harveys, Wheelers, D'Arnaud, and so on because he won't eventually pay them...... I am met with being told it hasn't happened yet and I don't know what I am talking about.
If you have followed my posts then I believe you would have noticed Reese and myself begging for Flores to have been given a chance to play SS before others as he collected splinters in his posterior while watching Tejada.
No credit?
My foresight was also that Granderson was not a good move.
My foresight was to trade Colon last summer and his value would not increase during the winter contrary to what others believed.
My foresight had been that Collins mistreated Flores with playing time and position in the batting order.

I am sorry that I can not ignore missed opportunities in order to only see positives.
As a fan, I feel sorry that Wright has suffered through the past few losing seasons during his prime years. I would like him to be rewarded for that as soon as possible. Alderson has assembled a very promising new nucleus that can be very close to excelling. For Wright's sake I regret he did not take the extra step or two to increase the likelihood of rewarding Wright with post season play as soon as possible.

IBfromWhitePlains said...

Richard Jones. Anthony did not quote you. He cited your point of view which was pretty clear. Read it again

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