Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Different Kind of Trade Talk

This is the time of year that everybody proposes trades. Now that there are so many blog writers that allow for instant feedback in the form of fan comments, it's interesting to note that the same trade proposal usually gets back at least one comment that it would be a terrible deal for the Mets and another that says the other team would never do it in a million years.

Among the very best deals ever made by the Mets, you'd have to rank the trades of Robert Person to Toronto in exchange for John Olerud and of course, the Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey for Keith Hernandez deals right near the top. I actually remember back in 1983 when somebody in my office suggested the Mets offer Neil Allen and "a couple of prospects" for Keith Hernandez only to be immediately shot down and laughed at. And who would have thought the Mets could have obtained one of the best hitters in the American League who was also a gold-glove first baseman in exchange for a AAA pitcher wo had already been through 3 organizations and didn't figure prominently in the Mets' plans ?

Sometimes there are circumstances that go beyond mere statistics that affect a player's value. In Hernandez' case, it was a perceived casual attitude and innuendoes of drug use. As far as Olerud, it was a matter of Toronto wanting more power from the first base position and Olerud's average having slipped to the point where the Jays felt he was on the decline. Whether or not there was some kind of personality clash between Olerud and Cito Gaston was never reported, but possibly the quiet, stoic Olerud was not one of the manager's favorites. Who knows ?

These trades worked out spectacularly well for the Mets, but that is not really my point here. I am just trying to show how what looked like one-sided trades on paper did, in fact, turn out to be just that. And yet, they WERE made. So, don't slough off reports packaging some Mets' prospects for a #1 pitcher or all-star caliber catcher. No doubt some team will make a steal of a deal on this winter's trade market. Met fans can only hope the Mets are that team.


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