Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Trades From The Past - Sid Fernandez

When you think about the really good trades the Mets have made, the Cone and Hernandez deals come to mind first, but although few and far between, the Mets have made some other pretty good trades in their history, so as things continue to fall apart for this year's team, I thought I'd try to inject a positive note by looking at a few of the other good deals the Mets made.

Following the 1983 season, the Mets traded a middling relief pitcher, Carlos Diaz, and the veteran utility man Bob Bailor to the Dodgers for a pair of minor leaguers, Sid Fernandez and infielder Ross Jones. Although I'd never seen Fernandez pitch, he had compiled some eye-popping minor league numbers and it was a surprise to me that the Dodgers would let him go for a couple of run-of-the-mill players with little potential to get better. Before long, we all found out that Fernandez had a major weight problem, didn't have extraordinary stuff or a blazing fastball and had the kind of laid-back attitude befitting a Hawaiian surfer dude. He relied primarily on a deceptive motion. But he was plenty good enough.

Although Sid never duplicated the astonishing numbers he had put up in the minors, he did put up some very impressive ones and fit nicely with a Mets' team that had some other outstanding starters whose styles were totally different.

Fernandez' hits per inning ratio was among the best in baseball history and he won 114 games in his major league career, most of which was spent with the Mets. Sid tried to make a few comebacks. I believe the last time was in spring training with the Yankees in the late '90's.

Sid was fun to watch and a highly effective, if, unorthodox starting pitcher. On the other side, both Diaz and Bailor did pretty much what was expected during their short tenures with the Dodgers. So, this was definitely one of the Mets' all-time best trades.


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