THE List: Top 10 Most Important Mets Trades

Donn Clendenon (6/15/69)

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In the first trade that truly changed the face of the franchise, the Mets acquired Clendenon at the trade deadline in 1969. All he did was hit 12 home runs in 72 games to help the Mets win the NL East, then hit three homers to win the MVP of the World Series.

Nolan Ryan (12/10/71)

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No one ever said these trades changed the Mets for the good. Imagine having a starting rotation fronted by Seaver, Ryan and Koosman for a decade. What might have been.

Tom Seaver (6/15/77)

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Trading Seaver sent the Mets into despair for nearly a decade, the darkest period in the history of the franchise.

George Foster (2/10/82)

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The Mets were hoping their climb back to respectability would begin with the acquisition of Foster. The trade did not work out as planned — Foster quickly declined — but the trade showed that the Mets were serious about becoming legitimate again.

Lee Mazzilli (4/1/82)

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Mazzilli was the only thing worth rooting for, and the Mets still traded the fan favorite. That alone was enough to make the list, but the trade brought back part of the foundation of the great teams to come — Ron Darling and Walt Terrell, who was later flipped for Howard Johnson.

Keith Hernandez (6/15/83)

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Hernandez was a bona fide superstar when the Mets acquired him for next to nothing. Slowly the pieces were coming together.

Gary Carter (12/10/84)

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And the team solidified with the trade for Carter. Without him, there is no 1986 championship.

Mike Piazza (5/22/98)

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A trade for another catcher changed the face of the franchise when the Mets got Piazza. He led the team to their only back-to-back playoff appearances.

Xavier Nady (7/31/06)

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Nady was cruising along with 14 home runs in 75 games when Omar Minaya panicked after the Duaner Sanchez crash and sent Nady to Pittsburgh. That forced Minaya to pick up Shawn Green as a replacement, who by that time was an inferior player to Nady. Could Nady have helped the Mets win the NLCS in 2006? What about in 2007 and 2008, when Nady was hitting 20 and 25 home runs, respectively, while Green and Ryan Church were average, at best? Maybe those collapses do not happen. To make matters worse, the Mets got Oliver Perez in the Nady trade. We all know the damage he caused.

Johan Santana (2/2/08)

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The Mets needed an ace after the 2007 collapse so they went out and got the best pitcher in baseball without giving up any top prospects. Of course, Santana was injured most of the time, but it was still one of the biggest Mets trades in franchise history. 

Mug Shots courtesy Ultimate Mets Database

5 thoughts on “THE List: Top 10 Most Important Mets Trades

  • November 14, 2013 at 6:24 am
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    I’d drop Foster and add getting Tommie Agee. Foster was a payroll suck and nothing more.

  • November 14, 2013 at 10:03 am
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    Mark – you hit a homerun with the Xavier Nady trade! I was shocked at the time! I couldn’t believe they dealt their starting right fielder because of an injury to a middle reliever. That deal still upsets me.

    Mark – “How could you trade Jay Buhner!?” ……. Sorry, I just love that line.

  • November 14, 2013 at 10:24 am
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    Pardon my second posting but??????

    How could you leave out 1962s – Harry Chiti to the Mets from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named later? Of course all Mets should know this one from years of sitting in on lectures from Prof. Kiner – the player to be named was: Harry Chiti.

  • November 14, 2013 at 11:10 am
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    Met Fan: The Agee trade turned out to be huge, what with the role he played in 1969. But the Foster trade was a game-changer for the Mets. They spent big money for the first time (five years, $10 million, the biggest contract in baseball history at the time) and they acquired one of the best players in the game. It didn’t work out as hoped, but it was transformative in a way the Agee trade was not.

    JJ: Yeah, the Nady trade still bothers me also. How could Minaya mess with a team that was playing so well? I never really thought about the impact he could have had in 2007 and 2008 until I was writing this. It makes the trade that much more important.

  • November 14, 2013 at 11:40 am
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    Nady getting traded away blew my mind, as well. I really liked Nady and was happy when they got him. Plus the fact that he could have played 1B or 3B should have factored into keeping him. I know they say “hindsight is 20-20” but for those of us who saw it right when it happened…

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