If you're a Mets fan, you are familiar with heartache. The very term "Mets fan" is synonymous with pain. This trade deadline has brought us too many moments of agony to rehash, but there are several that stick out in the collective memory of the fan of the Mets. These trades are the lemon juice in a cut type of transaction. They were the ones that really stung.
In the spirit of the MLB trade deadline winding down tomorrow at 4pm, I decided to take a look back at some of the worst mistakes the Mets have made in the trade market. It is not a fun task to undertake, but it is a necessary one. How else can we learn for our future if we do not examine the mistakes of the past?
Warning: to read this list, it takes a real fan, one that has courage and can remain realistic. This is not for the faint of heart. If you have heart trouble, please consult with a physician before reading this list, as the results of it may very well cause a stroke. It almost caused me one just compiling it.
5. Oliver Perez-
It's been just about four years since Duaner Sanchez had that taxi cab accident. The ripples of that incident are still felt to this day in the Mets fan base. Why? The Mets acquired two pitchers on July 31st of that 2006 season. One was Roberto Hernandez and the other was the infamous and often documented Oliver Perez. What did they give up for them? Xavier Nady.
Okay, not a tremendous loss, but consider this: last season, the Mets and their fans were discussing the need for an outfielder that has power, so they go out and spend big money on Jason Bay. Bay still hasn't "adjusted," so they still need a power hitter in the outfield. Nady had two seasons of 20 and 25 home runs respectively during the time we've watched Oliver Perez struggle game after game.
Nady was hurt for a majority of last season and is struggling this season, but during the first few seasons after that trade, the Mets could have used him. Not to mention, the cut ties with Roberto Hernandez after that season. He did a solid job for them in '05 and that part of '06. They have had bullpen issues every season since. Then they cut ties with Sanchez eventually anyway. So the only remnants that remain from that day and that accident are Oliver Perez and his multiple seasons of an ERA over 6.00.
4. Scott Kazmir-
I remember this day like it was yesterday. Most older fans will say that a little later on too. But for now, allow me to set this situation up for you. Two seasons before that taxi cab accident that eventually brought us Ollie, there was another accident of sorts. An accident of impulse. On July 31, 2004, the New York Mets traded their highest scouted prospect, Scott Kazmir to the Tampa Bay (then Devil) Rays for Victor Zambrano. Not Carlos Zambrano, but Victor. Why? Because he had mild success against the Yankees.
Many fans have held this move much higher than # 4 for years, but looking at the overall numbers, it belongs here. The main problem is the word "potential." Kazmir was exuding potential. Everyone deemed him the "next" Roger Clemens, only without the juice. He is a big lefty that throws hard. He wowed all of the scouts and opponents as well.
After the trade, he was a big part of helping Tampa Bay get to the World Series in '08, helping many Mets fans cringe, though the Phillies won it, causing the fans here to cringe even more. Kazmir has been often injured and often struggling. He is not the pitcher that everyone has envisioned with a career 4.12 ERA. He is not the unhittable, but he is younger than Oliver Perez.
So, therefore, conventional wisdom would suggest that he could still turn it around with the right pitching coach. Though I am not so sure the Mets have that right now. What really made this so bad, was that Zambrano was often injured in his time with the Mets and sported a 4.45 ERA. You compare the numbers. I'd still take Kazmir.
3. Lenny Dykstra-
The day that Lenny Dykstra was traded was a terrible day in the Mets franchise history. No one seems to mention this trade, but it was awful. Lenny Dykstra AND Roger McDowell (the inventor of the hot foot) both were traded to a division rival, the Phillies. In June of 1989, the Mets moved two of their most beloved heroes of the '86 Championship team and Dykstra eventually helped bring the Phillies to the World Series in '93 while endearing himself to their fan base as he did with ours.
McDowell went on to Los Angeles eventually and continued success for several more seasons. What did the Mets get in return? Juan Samuel. The same Juan Samuel who sported a .228 AVG and was traded away just a few months later. So the Mets received nothing for these two warriors, Dykstra and McDowell, and they went on to help other teams to success. Another great front office move.
2. Nolan Ryan-
The name is equivalent to greatness and perfection. He was unarguably the greatest pitcher to ever pitch and he was a Mets player for a few short years of their early existence. On December 10, 1971, he was traded with a few other inconsequential players for Jum Fregosi. Who? The guy who managed in Philly and Toronto? Yeah, that guy. The guy who had a career AVG of .233 and only played 146 games with the Mets before being sold, not traded, to Texas? Yes, that Jim Fregosi.
So we received a forgettable player, who's only real accomplishment was being an average manager, in exchange for the greatest pitcher of all-time. Don't believe me, the numbers speak volumes, 5,714 strikeouts and 7 no hitters, the Mets still have none and he leads MLB history in both of those while being a Hall of Fame inductee since '99. The Mets certainly pulled the trigger there, didn't they?
1. Two words: "The franchise". Tom "Terrific" Seaver -
He was simply put, the greatest Mets pitcher in the history of the team. Then, they traded him due to a dispute with management. That day is still referred to as the "midnight massacre". It occurred on June, 15th 1977. The same day, the Mets traded Dave "King Kong" Kingman to San Diego.
As for Seaver, he posted a 2.57 ERA with the Mets in 12 seasons that included an attempt at making peace with them in '83. He had 2,541 total strikeouts and 198 wins with the team. He, too, is a Hall of Fame member as of '92. He led the Mets to glory and unexpected, miraculous success in both '69 and '73. He was the captain and leader of the Mets for more than a decade. After leaving the Mets, he, too, had a no hit game. He was a legend that deserved better from this team.
Perhaps the lack of perfect games or no hitters from this franchise is actually just the baseball gods getting them back for trading away so many legends. The old saying goes, the baseball gods giveth and they taketh away. In a more realistic way, the baseball gods giveth and the Mets front office taketh away.
Let's hope that they do something this season to turn that around on this trade deadline. But knowing the history, they probably will not. In fact, all we really can hope for is that they don't mess up too badly and trade away another future hall of fame inductee or world series winner.
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