Today is the 2014 trade deadline. This is a day that can induce fun and anxiety for baseball fans. What your favorite team’s front office does or does not do today will tell you what they think of your team’s chances down the stretch. Since the fortunes of their team’s season have recently improved, Mets fans are now wondering what Sandy Alderson and company will do.
While we are on the topic of the trade deadline, Amazin’ Avenue takes a brief look at trades the Mets have made in the past. Included in this list are trades from when the deadline was June 15 (from 1923–1985), as well as deals done since the current July 31st deadline was established in 1986.
This list is non-exhaustive and is presented in chronological order. We will leave it to you to judge whether the trades were good or bad (although some are quite obvious, one way or the other).
June 15, 1969: The Mets obtain first baseman Donn Clendenon from Montreal in exchange for pitchers Steve Renko, Bill Carden, and Dave Colon, as well as infielder Kevin Collins. Clendenon was instrumental in helping the Miracle Mets win the 1969 World Series. He hit .252 with 12 home runs and 37 RBI during the season. He then had an amazing World Series in which he batted .357 with three home runs. Clendenon played with the Mets through the 1971 season.
June 15, 1977: Known in Mets’ lore as the “Midnight Massacre,” Tom Seaver is shipped to Cincinnati for pitcher Pat Zachary, infielder Doug Flynn, outfielder Steve Henderson, and minor leaguer Dan Norman. There is not much else to say here. Seaver would go on to pitch a no-hitter for the Reds in 1978. Dave Kingman was also traded on this date to San Diego in exchange for infielder Bobby Valentine and pitcher Paul Siebert.
June 15, 1983: The Mets obtain first baseman Keith Hernandez from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. The rest is history: Hernandez became a mainstay at first base for the remainder of the decade and helped lead the Mets to the 1986 championship.
July 31, 1989: Mets sent fan-favorite outfielder Mookie Wilson to Toronto for pitchers Jeff Musselman and Mike Brady. Musselman played only one more year, and minor leaguer Brady never rose above Class-A. Wilson had been with the Mets for ten years at that point, and this trade represented the further dismantling of the 1986 team.
August 27, 1992: In a waiver wire deal, the Mets send pitcher David Cone to Toronto for infielder Jeff Kent and outfielder Ryan Thompson. Cone helped the Blue Jays win two consecutive World Series, and then went on to pitch a no-hitter as a member of the Yankees in 1996.
July 29, 1996: The Mets send second baseman Jeff Kent and infielder Jose Vizcaino to Cleveland for second baseman Carlos Baerga and infielder Alvaro Espinosa. Kent went on to enjoy a great career, later playing for the Giants and Dodgers. Baerga seemingly forgot how to hit once he joined the Mets.
August 8, 1997: The Mets obtain outfielder Brian McRae and pitchers Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for outfielder Lance Johnson and two players to be named later (pitcher Mark Clark and infielder Manny Alexander). In 1996, Johnson set the Mets all-time record for hits in a season. Wendell was part of a very strong bullpen over the next several years.
Several moves were made in 1999, as the Mets were contending for the Wild Card:
July 23, 1999: The Mets obtain outfielder Darryl Hamilton and pitcher Chuck McElroy from Colorado for pitchers Thomas Johnson and Rigo Beltran, as well as outfielder Brian McRae. Hamilton played well for the Mets down the stretch, and McElroy was a nice addition to the bullpen, as the Mets won the National League Wild Card in 1999.
July 31, 1999: The Mets receive pitcher Kenny Rogers from Oakland in exchange for pitcher Leo Vasquez and outfielder Terrance Long. Rogers helped solidify the Mets’ starting rotation down the stretch.
July 31, 1999: The Mets trade pitchers Jason Isringhausen and Greg McMichael to Oakland for pitcher Billy Taylor. Isringhausen reinvented himself as an All-Star closer, and later returned to the Mets at the end of his career.
July 31, 2002: The Mets send outfielder Jason Bay and pitchers Josh Reynolds and Bobby Jones to San Diego for pitchers Jason Middlebrook and Steve Reed. Bay would go on to enjoy success with Pittsburgh and Boston. Mets fans do not have to be reminded of what happened upon his return to the Mets, from 2010–2012.
July 30, 2004: Considering themselves buyers, the Mets ship highly touted pitcher Scott Kazmir, as well as pitcher Jose Diaz, to Tampa Bay for pitchers Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato. This is the Zambrano whom Rick Peterson, pitching coach of the Mets, stated he could “fix in about ten minutes.” Zambrano was out of baseball a couple of years later, while Kazmir has since had a successful career in the majors.
July 30, 2004: The Mets obtain pitcher Kris Benson and infielder Jeff Keppinger from Pittsburgh in exchange for infielders Jose Bautista and Ty Wigginton, as well as pitcher Matt Peterson. Bautista has become a prolific home run hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays; it can be argued that what we remember most about Benson is his wife and her antics.
July 12, 2011: In what can be described as an “addition by subtraction” deal, the Mets send reliever Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee for minor leaguers Adrian Rosario and Danny Herrera. Mets fans will recall that Rodriguez was arrested in 2010 for assaulting his girlfriend’s father. Additionally, it behooved the Mets to get rid of the reliever in 2011 so as to prevent paying his 2012 contract.
July 28, 2011: The Mets send popular outfielder Carlos Beltran to San Francisco for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler. Beltran is considered by some to be the best centerfielder in the history of the Mets, but he would have been a free agent at the end of 2011. Beltran is still in the majors as a member of the Yankees. Wheeler came up with the Mets in 2013, and posted a 7–5 record with a 3.42 ERA. He is currently 6–8 with a 3.60 ERA.
This ends our look at some of the more significant trade deadline moves throughout Mets history. We will soon see what the Mets are planning for the remainder of 2014.