Mets trades that got the emotions stirring

1972 Fregosi BPNow that the hot stove is starting to heat up I thought I would do something a bit different.  Thought I’d talk about some of the Mets trades from the past that I remember very clearly as if they happened yesterday.  These are the trades that really got me fired up or down.

December 12, 1969 Mets Amos Otis trade Bob Johnson for Joe Foy.   I had only been a Met fan for a year.  I heard about this trade on the local evening news.  I would always watch the sports religiously during the winter meetings.  At the time I said, “Oh that’s too bad.  Otis has potential.”  Otis only played 19 games with the Mets who wanted  to keep Tommy Agee in center (you can’t blame them).  Otis went on to become a five time all star, he won three gold gloves and was in the top 10 in MVP voting four times.   He ended his career with a very respectable bWAR of 42.6.  Foy a went on to hit .236 with six dingers for the Mets.  It’s interesting that the Mets had to give up more than Otis for this kind of production.  Foy was out of baseball by 1972.   So even the World Series Mets made some mistakes…  If Otis had stayed with the Mets he might have been considered the best center fielder in club history until Beltran came along.

December 10, 1971, Nolan Ryan traded to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi.  The Mets also threw in Leroy Stanton, Francisco Estrada and Don Rose.   I was playing APBA baseball with my buddy when news of this trade hit my ear and my brain.  Ironically, I had Jim Fregosi on my APBA team so I knew he was a good player (he had a 10 fielding) but man I so did not want to lose Nolan Ryan.  You could feel the greatness coming.  Well apparently the Mets powers that be couldn’t…  When you talk about worse trades in baseball history, this one is up there.

April 5th, 1972, Mets trade Ken Singleton, Mike Jorgensen and Tim Foli to the Expos for Rusty Staub.   I was in homeroom the next morning when friends told me of this trade.  I hated to see Singleton go.  I always liked what he brought to the Mets.  Still I knew you had to give up something to get something.  Staub really was something, at the time one of the best hitters in the game.  (Plus the girl who lived down the street from us actually met him a few times, which I thought was cool.)  This was one Mets trade I really liked.  Staub would help the Mets to the series in 73.  Of course Singleton would go on to have a fine career with the Expos and Orioles, ending with 41.8 bWAR not far below Staub’s career bWAR of 45.8.  Still this a trade that made sense.

December 12, 1975, Mets trade Rusty Staub and Bill Laxton for Mickey Lolich and Billy Baldwin.   After a few productive years the Mets gave up on Staub sending him to the Tigers for Mikey Lolich who was past him prime.  I was once again playing APBA baseball when I learned of this trade.  I knew Lolich had won 24 games a few seasons ago, but I still didn’t get this trade.  Lolich looked to be out of shape and older than he should have been.  Staub went on to have a few good seasons with the Tigers before eventually coming back to the Mets.  Lolich just got more and more out of shape.

Midnight Massacre: June 15th 1977, Tom Seaver to the Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman.  (The Mets also traded Dave Kingman to Padres for Bobby Valentine and Paul Siebert.) It was actually the morning of the 16th when I heard the news.  I was laying on the couch at my parent’s home, I was sick with a nasty summer time flu.  I suddenly felt sicker.  I could not believe that the Mets would let Seaver go and we weren’t at least getting George Foster out of this deal.  Kingman, while never being an elite outfielder was always fun to watch.  The man could crush a baseball.  I felt the Mets really lost their way on this day.   I actually considered giving up on them.

December 10th, 1984, Mets trade Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, Floyd Youmans for Gary Carter.   I wanted to end on a positive note.  I was at home watching ESPN when I heard about this trade.  Christmas came early that year for Mets fans.  The 84 Mets had an air of excitement about them.  You knew the Mets were on the right track.  They just needed that one player to compliment Hernandez and put them over the top.  Carter was it.  It may have not been the best trade in Mets history but it ranks right up there.

What were the Met trades that stirred your emotions?

Notes: On the bad trade side, the Kent deal should be here, but living in California at the time the trade didn’t really register with me on a deep level.  I was sorry to see Kent go as he played hard for the Mets but I didn’t think Kent  would turn into a future MVP and Hall of Fame candidate.  I also know the Keith Hernandez trade should be here but somehow that trade didn’t click with my brain at the time.  I do remember talking to a friend who had a friend who baby sat for Chris Chambliss and had heard whispers that Hernandez had used cocaine.  I said, “Nah, can’t be true he’s way too consistent…”

12 comments for “Mets trades that got the emotions stirring

  1. JoeG414
    November 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Bobby Ojeda put them over the top in 1986

  2. John Zakour
    November 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    That was a good trade. Though I was so psyched about the Mets that year I never registered with me as an emotionally big deal.

  3. Marcus
    November 15, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    The Lenny Dykstra for Juan Samuel trade crushed me. David Cone for Ryan Thompson and Jeff Kent made me throw something. Lastly, giving up Jeff Kent for Carlos Baegera pissed me off.

    On a postive note … Mike Piazza, Sid Fernandez, Ron Darling, David Cone, Hojo … All amazing trades to us.

    • John Zakour
      November 15, 2013 at 6:47 pm

      Juan Samuel another pretty good second baseman who didn’t do much with the Mets. I could live with the Cone trade cause I always thought Kent would be good, just not as good as he turned out, plus of course much of his output came after leaving the Mets.

      • Robby
        November 16, 2013 at 9:02 am

        That trade was rough for me because those two guys were fan favorites and end of an era saying goodbye to the 86 team.
        It is still fresh in our minds but the Kazmir trade I remember going into work the next day and everyone was disgusted. A number 5 starter on last place team for one of baseballs top pitching prospects that everyone wanted.
        Really good article. Thanks John

    • DKA
      November 16, 2013 at 9:14 am

      The Dykstra AND Roger McDowell for Samuel trade infuriated me the moment I heard it. I certainly wasn’t a sabermetrics guy back then, but I fully believed that Lenny was still improving and was already the keystone at the top of our lineup and a great defensive centerfielder. I knew that Samuel was a hacker and never walked. The idea that the Mets were considering moving him to Center to replace Dykstra was mindboggling to me. There was no way I thought Samuel was as valuable as Dykstra and the fact that the Mets included Roger McDowell in the trade, a very valuable reliever and another part of the Mets persona, just put me over the top. Easily the dumbest/worst trade the mets made post Tom Seaver.

  4. John Zakour
    November 16, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Yeah the Dykstra trade was also a disaster. I always figured his personality clashed with one of the Mets powers that be at the time. No idea why they would toss in Roger MaDowell also. I actually ran into Dykstra at the Phillie airport in the early 90s. I told him I thought it was really stupid the Mets traded him. He agreed with me but in more explicit terms. I think this trade didn’t hurt me as much as it should have due to the fact I had just gotten engaged….

  5. Rob
    November 16, 2013 at 10:22 am

    The trades of Amos Otis and Ken Singleton really frosted me. The seventies outfield would have been outstanding. And maybe the trades of Dykstra and McDowell was more about the front office clashing with their personalities. All of theses deals made no sense to me.

  6. Robby
    November 16, 2013 at 11:23 am

    It was before my time but my dad always said about the Ryan trade was someone just needed to help him with his control. Guy throws way to hard to give up on. Apparently what the Angels saw. But at the time wasn’t as awful as it is now like Seaver and Kazmir. Looking back at Seaver trade was that really the best package they could get? Not good or bad trades but it was rough when I heard a lot of guys go like Darling, Wilson and Mazzilli.

  7. John Zakour
    November 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    The Ryan trade really hurt. I had only been a Mets fan for a couple of years but he was so fun to watch throw. You could feel the greatness coming.

  8. Jerry Grote
    November 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Kevin McReynolds. After winning 108 with George Foster in LF for most of the year before, I thought we’d win 115 games for as far as the eye could see … especially since we didn’t give up a valuable starting part for him.

    That ’88 team was loaded.

  9. Pox
    March 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I came home from a softball game one night and turned the radio on to the Mets game. I heard Ralph Kiner say “With an infield of Brooks, Oquendo, Giles and Hernandez the Mets will have one of the best defensive infields in the National League.” My first thought was ‘the Mets don’t have anybody in their minor league system named Hernandez.’ Then it hit me that they traded for Keith Hernandez. When I got the report that Allen and Owenby were the only players given up I couldn’t believe Cashen had pulled this off. My father had died about a week before so I said to myself “God. You owed me one.” The next year around Christmas I picked up the morning Daily News and saw the headline, Mets Trade for Montreals Carter. I ran to work and tried to find a Met fan. No one was around so I went into my bosses office who wasn’t a baseball fan and told him the news. He had no idea what I was talking about and why I was so excited. The one thing I liked about these kind of deals that Frank Cashen would make is that they would come out of nowhere. No rumors, no press speculation, just BAM deal made. The Otis for Foy deal seemed to make sense at the time. Foy had come off a pretty good season with the Royals and he was only twenty six. Agee was twenty nine and and it seemed as though Otis was expendable. Of course I didn’t know that Foy was a pot head and the Mets had offered Agee to the Royals first instead of Otis. Kansas City held out for Otis. Agees knees were starting to go and the Mets knew it so they tried to dump him on Kansas City. The Royals were a smart organization and they held out for the right guy while dumping a guy they knew was trouble. The deal that the Mets made with the Angels that involved Willie Mays Aikens and Dickie Thon for Craig Swan was signed and sealed until Joe Torre got involved and helped kill the trade. Buzzy Bavasi was furious with the Mets for backing out on a trade that had been agreed to. Getting two young power hitting regulars for one starter was a great move then and I have never forgiven Torre for sticking his nose into that trade and screwing it up.

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