The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone. Most teams have already made their moves and have set their rosters for the final two months of the season. However, trades can still be made through the end of the season via special waivers. The process is somewhat complicated, but it is explained here.
The Mets have made several significant August trades throughout their history. Some were big at the time, some did not draw attention until years after the fact. Even though this is typically a month for smaller moves, the Mets have made many more notable August trades than you might think.
August 31, 1977: 1969 World Series champion catcher Jerry Grote is traded to the Dodgers for two minor leaguers. Following his twelve-year stay in New York, Grote played parts of two more seasons for the Dodgers and Royals as a backup catcher before calling it quits in 1981.
August 28, 1984: The Mets sent outfielder Gerald Young, infielder Manuel Lee, and a minor leaguer to the Astros for third baseman Ray Knight. Knight went on to play just two full seasons with the Mets, but became one of the most important players in team history. He scored the winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series and took home World Series MVP honors that year after batting .391/.440/.565 in the Fall Classic.
August 27, 1992: With the Mets far out of contention in 1992, the team traded star pitcher David Cone to the Blue Jays for prospects Ryan Thompson and Jeff Kent. Cone served as Toronto's ace over the season's final month, making seven starts in September, and was a pivotal part of the team's 1992 World Series Championship.
While Thompson was a career backup outfielder, Kent played the next four seasons with the Mets. He put up decent numbers in New York, batting .279/.327/.453 while hitting 21 homers in 1993 and 20 in 1995, but never truly blossomed with the Mets. Kent was traded to the Indians as part of the Carlos Baerga trade in 1996. He later became a star with the Giants, Astros, and Dodgers, making five All-Star teams and winning the 2000 NL MVP Award.
August 8, 1997: After playing like a superstar in his season-and-a-half with the Mets, outfielder Lance Johnson and two other players were sent to the Cubs for outfielder Brian McRae and pitchers Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell.
This is one of the more underrated trades in Mets history, despite Mets fans' bad memories of Rojas and McRae. Although it looked like the Mets were trading a star, Johnson played just three more seasons after the trade and his production fell considerably. The return on Johnson helped lay the foundation for the 1999 and 2000 playoff teams: Wendell became a staple in the bullpen and McRae was later traded for outfielder Darryl Hamilton.
August 30, 2000: Years before he became one of the best hitters in the game, Nelson Cruz was Mets property. He signed with the team as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1998 and played the next three seasons in his native country. But before he ever played a game in the Mets' system, Cruz was traded to the A's on August 30, 2000 for utility infielder Jorge Velandia. Velandia, a backup infielder, played parts of three seasons with the Mets and batted .149/.281/.216 in 47 games.
If it is any consolation, Cruz didn't make it to the majors until 2005 with the Brewers and didn't become an All-Star until almost a decade after the trade in 2009.
August 15, 2002: Aside from one spectacular game against the Yankees, Shawn Estes struggled throughout most of his lone year with the Mets. So the team traded him to the Reds for four players.
Three of these players, Raul Gonzalez, Brady Clark and Elvin Andujar, never did much with the Mets. But the fourth, Pedro Feliciano, became one of baseball's premier left-handed specialists. He played for the Mets from 2006-2010 and again in 2013, and led the majors in relief appearances every year from 2008-2010. Feliciano has the second-most appearances in Mets history; only John Franco pitched in more games with the Mets than "Perpetual Pedro."
August 23, 2006: The Mets bolstered an already strong lineup by acquiring outfielder Shawn Green from the Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Evan McLane. Although he was no longer the star he once was with the Blue Jays and Dodgers, Green was solid in two years with the Mets. He batted .284/.346/.433 with New York and retired following the 2007 season.
August 20, 2007: I bet you forgot that Jeff Conine played for the Mets.
Right before their September collapse, the Mets acquired a washed-up Conine from the Reds in exchange for two minor leaguers. Like most of the Mets that September, Conine struggled, batting an underwhelming .195/.306/.244 in 21 games. Conine, who was known as "Mr. Marlin" for his eight years with the club, retired after the season. Coincidentally, the Mets' playoff hopes were ended by the Marlins—and an apparent bit of Glavotage—on the final day of Conine's career.
August 27, 2013: The Mets had fallen far out of contention in 2013, so they traded outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck to the Pirates for second base prospect Dilson Herrera. Both Byrd and Buck helped Pittsburgh record their first winning season and playoff appearance in 21 years, and Herrera is currently one of the Mets' top prospects.
The Mets have already made a trade in August this year, acquiring reliever Eric O'Flaherty from the A's. While August trades may be less exciting than those in July, they can still make plenty of difference in a pennant race, and even the affect the future of a franchise.