More What Ifs in Mets Hot Tub History

This week there’s been far too much buzz about the fact that postseason superstar Nelson Cruz was once property of the Mets — only to be sent away for a “spare part” when he was a raw and slow-to-develop 19-year-old.

(Hat tip to MetsToday commenter “Mic” for inspiring this post.)

Add in the obvious connection to Rangers President Nolan Ryan (argh! Jim Friggin Fregosi!) and it’s a lamenting week of self-loathing for Mets fans, wondering what might have been had the GM at the time of whatever-bad deal-you-want-to-bring-up not been so goshdarn stupid!

Hold that thought for a moment; let the anger and remorse flow through your body. Now consider some of these other “what ifs” …

What if the Mets re-signed Mike Hampton and therefore not gotten David Wright as a supplemental pick?

What if they hadn’t traded Kris Benson for John Maine and Jorge Julio (who in turn became Orlando Hernandez)? Sure, Maine and El Duque weren’t around very long, but do the Mets get to the 2006 postseason without them?

Similarly, what if they hadn’t traded Yusmeiro Petit, Grant Psomas, and Mike Jacobs for Carlos Delgado?

And what if they hadn’t traded future superstars Dante Brinkley and Gaby Hernandez for Paul LoDuca?

Or if they hadn’t included Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans in the Gary Carter deal?

Or if they didn’t trade John Christensen, Wes Gardner, Calvin Schiraldi and LaSchelle Tarver in the deal for Bobby Ojeda?

Or if they hadn’t sent Ed Hearn to Kansas City for David Cone?

Or if they didn’t gamble away Ed Yarnall, Geoff Geotz, and Preston Wilson for Mike Piazza?

Or if they didn’t give up on Robert Person so quickly, sending him to Canada for John Olerud?

Or if they’d just been more patient with young closer Neil Allen, instead of trading him for Keith Hernandez?

Or if they’d held on to Dave Colon, Bill Carden, Kevin Collins, and the immortal Steve Renko, rather than sent them packing for Donn Clendenon?

Have I made my point?

Sure, the Mets have made some terrible personnel decisions in their history — some real doozies — when it came to sending away young or minor league players. But they’ve also made some stunningly brilliant deals as well, tapping that same resource of unknown talent. Did it all even out? That’s hard to judge, but at the very least, step out of that “what coulda been” hot tub time machine, and adjust the dial so that it also takes into account the deals that worked out quite well for the Metropolitans. Looking at the franchise’s history more objectively, you might find that they have been just as inept as any other MLB organization when it comes to giving away raw young talent. Just ask a Yankee fan about the Fred McGriff for Dale Murray deal, or the Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps trade. Or a Cubs fan about the Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock deal. Or a Mariners fan about the memories of Heathcliff Slocumb, who was obtained for a minor league battery named Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Bad deals happen to every team, and more than once — not just to the Mets.

Mets History

About the Author

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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