By: Stuart Hack

The Mets All-Time Best Trades by Position

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This week I look at the all-time best Met Trades by position:

First Base – Keith Hernandez.  The Mets got lucky here.  Whitey Herzog was desperate to get rid of Hernandez and settled for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey.  This trade was the beginning of the Mets turnaround.

Second Base – Felix Millan.  I’m always curious why no one mentions this trade when talking about the great ones.  The Mets dealt Gary Gentry and the late Danny Frisella for Millan and George Stone.  Millan was a solid player for the Mets over 5 seasons including the pennant winning 1973 team.

Shortstop – Frank Taveras.  Players like Bud Harrelson, Jose Reyes and Jose Oquendo were all home grown so almost by default I go with Taveras who was acquired from Pittsburgh even up for Tim Foli in 1979.  Taveras was the Mets Starting Shortstop during the ‘Joe Torre learning to Manage’ years.  This trade actually worked out well for Pittsburgh as Foli was an important part of their 1979 Championship team.

Third Base – Howard Johnson.  The Mets got him even up from Detroit for Walt Terrell (He will pop up again later).  HoJo had three 30-30 seasons during his time with the Mets.

Left Field – George Foster.  Another tough one.  Kevin McReynolds came at a price of Kevin Mitchell, Steve Henderson cost Tom Seaver, and Bernard Gilkey only had one good season.  While considered a disappointment during his tenure with the Mets, Foster did put up solid numbers as well as a few extra fans in the seats.

Center Field – Tommie Agee.  The Mets acquired Agee along with another 1969 hero Al Weiss in a multi-player deal with the Chicago White Sox.  Agee hit 26 homeruns in1969 and made those two great catches in the World Series.

Right Field – Joel Youngblood.  Everyone remembers June 15, 1977 as a dark day in Met history but in addition to trading Tom Seaver and Dave Kingman, there was another trade with the Cardinals.  The Mets traded infielder Mike Phillips for Youngblood whose cannon arm roamed Right Field into the early 1980’s.

Catcher – Gary Carter.  I think this was more meaningful than the Mike Piazza trade.  When the Mets acquired Carter this was for the sole purpose of winning a world championship which they did a year later.  There was no guaranty that Piazza was even going to remain a Met at the time of his trade as he was a Free agent.

Right Handed Starting Pitcher — Tie between Ron Darling and David Cone.  Darling was acquired along with Walt Terrell (who was later used to acquire Howard Johnson) for a past his prime Lee Mazzilli.  Cone cost the Mets Ed Hearn, a backup catcher.  Hopefully in a few years I can slot Noah Syndegaard here.

Left Handed Starting Pitcher — Sid Fernandez.  The Mets acquired him from Los Angeles for Bob Bailor a utility infielder and Carlos Diaz a relief pitcher.  El Sid was an important part of the Met Pitching staff during their 1986 Championship Season.

Right Handed Relief Pitcher — Armando Benitez.  The Mets got him from Baltimore for Catcher Charles Johnson (who the Mets got in another trade from the Dodgers for Todd Hundley and immediately traded).  Benitez solidified the closer position for five years.

Left Handed Relief Pitcher — Jessie Orosco.  He was the Class A pitcher the Mets got for Jerry Koosman in 1979.  Throwing his glove in the air remains arguably the most iconic picture in Met history.

Manager — Gil Hodges.  The Mets traded Pitcher Bill Denehy to Washington where Hodges was managing prior to the 1968 season.  I’d say that one worked out very well.

I’d love to hear from other Met Fans as far as any trades I may have missed.

About Stuart A. Hack

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