Since giving away Scott Kazmir in an ill-advised push to make the playoffs in 2004, the Mets have been very careful about trading away young talent. Still, you can make up a pretty good team of players the Mets have dealt away before they hit their prime.

This article considers those players traded up to age 25. So, while Jeff Kent had more value going forward after the Mets traded him than the player listed below at second base, since he was age 28 when the Mets dealt him, he was ineligible for this list.

C – Mike Fitzgerald
Trade: Sent to Montreal in Gary Carter deal
After trade: 728 games played, .236/.327/.355 OPS+ 91
Analysis – Great trade for Mets as Carter was one of the keys to 1986 World Series team.

1B – Mike Jorgensen
Trade: Sent to Montreal in Rusty Staub deal
After trade: 1,504 games played, .246/.351/.374 OPS+ 102
Analysis – Poor trade for Mets. See my Rusty Staub article for more details.

2B – Ron Hunt
Trade: Sent to Los Angeles in Tommy Davis deal
After trade: 1,024 games played, .269/.378/.331 OPS+ 103
Analysis – Good trade for both clubs. Davis played well his one year with the Mets before they flipped him for Tommie Agee. Hunt learned how to get hit by a pitch on a regular basis and contributed eight years as an above-average second baseman after the trade.

3B – Gregg Jefferies
Trade: Sent to Kansas City in Brett Saberhagen deal
After trade: 1,000 games played, .294/.350/.424 OPS+ 105
Analysis – Probably a wash. Saberhagen had one great year for the Mets in 1994 when he finished third in the Cy Young Award balloting. But he is remembered for being part of the terrible early 90s Mets and his role in the bleach-spraying incident. Jefferies had two All-Star appearances after the deal.

SS – Tim Foli
Trade: Sent to Montreal in Rusty Staub deal
After trade: 1,594 games played, .252/.284/.311 OPS+ 64
Analysis – See Jorgensen comment.

LF – Jason Bay
Trade: Sent to San Diego in Steve Reed deal
After trade: 1,017 games played, .278/.374/.508 OPS+ 129
Analysis – Poor trade for the Mets. It’s never a good idea to swap a 30-HR guy for a middle reliever.

CF – Amos Otis
Trade: Sent to Kansas City in Joe Foy deal
After trade: 1,931 games played, .279/.345/.430 OPS+116
Analysis – Poor trade for the Mets. Instead of a five-time All-Star, the Mets got to play Don Hahn and Del Unser in center.

RF – Ken Singleton
Trade: Sent to Montreal in Rusty Staub deal
After trade: 1,898 games played, .284/.389/.440 OPS+ 133
Analysis – See Jorgensen comment. The 1970s Mets should have had an OF of Cleon Jones, Amos Otis and Ken Singleton. And you can sub Dave Kingman for Jones if you like.

Utility – Jeromy Burnitz
Trade: Sent to Cleveland in Paul Byrd deal
After trade: 1,563 games played, .254/.345/.486 OPS+ 112
Analysis – Poor trade for Mets. A former first-round pick of the club, he was run out of town by manager Dallas Green, better known as the guy who shredded the arms of Generation K.

Utility – Kevin Mitchell
Trade: Sent to San Diego in Kevin McReynolds deal
After trade: 1,108 games played, .285/.362/.526 OPS+143
Analysis – Bad trade for Mets. McReynolds gave some solid years for the team but Mitchell won an MVP Award. Also loses points for being one of many moves designed to rid the 1986 World Series team of as many players with fiery personalities as possible.

Starting Pitcher – Nolan Ryan
Trade: Sent to California in Jim Fregosi deal
After trade: 295 Wins, 113 ERA+, 5,221 Ks
Analysis – This one didn’t work out too well…

Starting Pitcher – Kevin Tapani
Trade: Sent to Minnesota in Frank Viola deal
After trade: 143 Wins, 101 ERA+, 1,480 Ks
Analysis – Win for Twins. Viola finished third in the Cy Young Award race in 1990, but the Mets did not make the playoffs in his tenure with the club, which was just 2+ seasons. And the Mets also traded Rick Aguilera in this deal.

Starting Pitcher – Steve Renko
Trade: Sent to Montreal in Donn Clendenon deal
After trade: 134 Wins, 98 ERA+, 1,455 Ks
Analysis – Win for Mets. While Renko threw five one-hitters and had a very good season in 1973, he was essentially a league-average pitcher. Clendenon played a vital role in the 1969 World Series team.

Starting Pitcher – A.J. Burnett
Trade: Sent to Florida in Al Leiter deal
After trade: 110 Wins, 107 ERA+, 1,618 Ks
Analysis – Win for Mets. Burnett has been a dominating pitcher at times but Leiter gave the Mets seven strong years and was a cornerstone of their 1999-2000 playoff teams. Still time for Burnett to change the perception of this deal but he’ll need to turn back the clock to 2008 to make that happen.

Starting Pitcher – Scott Kazmir
Trade: Sent to Tampa Bay in Victor Zambrano deal
After trade: 66 Wins, 106 ERA+, 993 Ks
Analysis – Poor trade for Mets. Injuries have kept this from becoming the second Nolan Ryan deal but with Kazmir on the team it is likely they would have made the playoffs in both 2007 and 2008. And while Kazmir had a down year in 2010, he will only be 27 next year and still has time to turn things around.

Closer – Jeff Reardon
Trade: Sent to Montreal in Ellis Valentine deal
After trade: 63 Wins, 357 Saves, 118 ERA+, 738 Ks
Analysis – The Mets had Neil Allen and Jeff Reardon vying for their closer job and were in desperate need of a big OF bat. Valentine was in the midst of the best season of his career in 1980 before having his face shattered by Roy Thomas. The Mets were gambling he could return to form when they made this trade in mid-1981, but Valentine was derailed by more injuries along with substance abuse problems. Ultimately, this was a poor trade for the Mets, but at the time it was a reasonable gamble.


The infield is pretty weak, but that is a pretty nice outfield and pitching staff. Plus, if Davey Johnson is our manager we can get Mitchell in the game at shortstop whenever there is a flyball pitcher on the mound.

5 comments on “Mets’ all-time 25 and under traded team

  • Howard Megdal

    Hi Brian,

    Great piece! Question- how do you feel about Jose Oquendo at SS instead? Fewer games, but a 93 OPS+. Can see both sides of this, though.

  • Brian Joura

    Hi Howard – thanks for reading and commenting!

    It’s a tossup at SS. Foli’s got a huge edge in games played but, much like with our pal Jeff Francoeur, is it an advantage to play every day if you’re lousy?

    Oquendo was certainly better while he played. And FWIW, the Mets traded him for John Young and Angel Salazar

  • […] here’s a post today from Brian Joura making an All-Star team out of the best under-25-year-old talent the Mets have traded away in their […]

  • beau

    how old was dykstra when they traded him for juan samuel? he had to be around the 25 mark. man, i cried that day.

    good article. i enjoyed

  • Brian Joura

    Hi Beau – thanks for reading and commenting!

    Dykstra was 26 when they shipped him to Philadelphia for Juan Samuel.

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