All season long it’s been understood that the Yankees were going to need to add depth to their starting rotation. It’s become abundantly clear recently that the Mets season has gone from bad to worse. Injuries, underachievement, and a lack of depth have caused the Mets to temper this season’s expectations. The latest wrinkle to the Mets’ season has been a call by some members of the media and some fans to trade Jacob deGrom and/or Noah “Thor” Syndergaard. The reason behind the “suggestion” and rumors is that the Mets would be able to retool/rebuild their team faster with the top tier prospects they would get in return for either pitcher, especially deGrom. In turn, that has given fodder for sports talk radio and the print and digital media outlets.
Much of the talk questions, “Is it possible for the Yankees and Mets to make a deal to get one of the Mets’ two big guns?” The saying goes, “Never say never”, but there is no way the Mets are going to trade a pitcher of deGrom’s caliber to the Yankees. And there is no way the Yankees are going to deal top prospects like Estevan Florial, Miguel Andujar, or Clint Frazier to the Mets. So it’s “No deGrom, No Thor, No Mets”.
How do I know this? Let me mention a few names: David Justice, Robin Ventura, Rafael Santana, Felix Heredia, Jason Anderson, and Tucker Ashford. Do you see the makings of a 29-year-old pitcher named deGrom in there? He lost again on Wednesday, despite only allowing two runs, and he owns a 1.55 ERA.
Whereas Justice and Ventura had great Major League careers, they were on the downside of those careers when the two teams swapped the former stars. Santana and Heredia were somewhat serviceable ballplayers that were also at the tail end of their time on the diamond. Anderson and Ashford made it to the bigs, but their careers were short-lived.
The reasons are obvious. The Yankees and Mets do NOT exchange star Major League players or top prospects that might thrive in the other organization. So, stick with the rumors about Cole Hamels, Michael Fulmer, J.A. Happ, etc., and forget the Mets.
To serve as a history lesson, here’s a look at all of the deals the Yankees and Mets have made with each other:
Yankees receive: L.J. Mazzilli (Lee’s son)/Mets receive: Kendall Coleman
The 27-year-old Mazzilli was selected in the 9th round of the 2012 draft by the Mets. He put up decent numbers in his first couple of season in the minors but his output been on the decline over the last four seasons. A call-up to the Majors is very unlikely.
Coleman was the Yankees 11th round draft choice in 2013. He owns a .610 career OPS in the minor leagues.
Yankees receive: Gonzalez Germen /Mets receive: Cash considerations
Germen signed with the Mets as a 20-year-old free agent in 2007. Six years later, he made it to the Major Leagues and appeared in 54 games over two seasons. In December 2014, the Yankees acquired him for cash considerations. A month and a day later, the Yankees sold him to the Texas Rangers. Three days after that, the Chicago Cubs grabbed him off waivers.
Germen made six appearances for the Cubs before the Colorado Rockies picked him up off waivers in July. He made 69 appearances from 2015-2016 and was terrible. Germen went to Japan for the 2017 season and then signed with the Chicago White Sox in January 2018. He was released two months later.
The George Era
Yankees receive: Mike Stanton/Mets receive: Felix Heredia
Stanton was a member of the 1998-2000 World Series champion Yankees. During his time in Pinstripes (1997-2002), he was one of the best lefty relievers in the game. But after pitching to an ERA over 7.00 in 28 games, the Yankees released him in July 2005. He played for four more organizations and played in 19 seasons before making his last Major League appearance in 2007.
Heredia was a journeyman reliever that the Yankees grabbed off waivers in August 2003 and kept him for the following season. But the left-hander recorded a 6.28 ERA with the Yankees in 2004 and they shipped him across town in December. He threw just three games for the Mets in 2005 and then was out of Major League Baseball.
Yankees receive: Armando Benitez /Mets receive: Jason Anderson, Anderson Garcia, Ryan Bicondoa
I don’t think you will find any Yankees fan that was happy about the acquisition of Benitez for three pitchers. For that matter, no one would have been happy had they gotten him for a nickel. Benitez made nine appearances, and though his numbers look good overall, he walked six hitters in nine-plus innings.
20 days after they acquired Benitez, the Yankees shipped him to Seattle and brought back Jeff Nelson. As for the players traded to the Mets, Anderson appeared in just six games for the Mets and 10 games for the rest of his Major League career (his last three games were back with the Yankees). Garcia made one relief appearance for the Phillies in 2007 and Bicondoa never made it to the Major Leagues. He started or relieved 224 games before calling it quits after the 2012 season.
Yankees receive: Robin Ventura /Mets receive: David Justice
Had it taken place in the mid-1990’s, this would have been considered a major deal. But, when the two teams swapped the two veterans, most fans yawned.
Ventura was an All-Star in his first season in the Bronx and finished 2002 with a .826 OPS, 27 HR, and 93 RBI. At the trade deadline one year later, they dealt him to the Dodgers for Scott Proctor and Bubba Crosby. He remained with the Dodgers for one more season and retired after the 2004 campaign.
Justice never played for the Mets. They traded him to Oakland (for Mark Guthrie and Tyler Yates) one week after the trade with the Yankees. He recorded a .785 OPS in 118 games for the A’s, and retired after the season.
Yankees receive: Frank Tanana /Mets receive: Kenny Greer
Together, Tanana once packed an overpowering 1-2 punch along with Nolan Ryan when they were members of the California Angels. Injuries took away Tanana’s dynamite fastball, but he reinvented himself and carved out a 21-year career. The Yankees picked him up during the September 1993 waiver trading period. At the time of the trade, the Yankees trailed the first place Blue Jays by three games. Tanana made three starts in what would turn out to be the final games of his career.
Greer, a 26-year-old right-hander made his Major League debut for the Mets in late September. He spent the 1994 season in the minor leagues before signing in the off-season with the Giants. He pitched in eight games for the 1995 Giants and then spent the last two years of his career in Triple-A and Double-A.
Yankees receive: Tim Burke /Mets receive: Lee Guetterman
Prior to joining the Mets in mid-June 1991, Burke spent six-plus seasons as a serviceable reliever for the Montreal Expos. He pitched very well for the Mets in the second half of the season but wore out his welcome with an awful 1992 season.
Guetterman, a lefty, was picked up by the Yankees in a 1987 trade with the Mariners. He provided effective relief for four seasons, but then was as bad if not worse than Burke in ’92. The trade might have been labeled a “Sanford and Son junkyard deal”. Guetterman threw 43-1/3 innings for the Mets and produced pedestrian numbers. He finished out his career in 1996, having spent time in the Padres and Cardinals organizations before returning to the Mariners for two seasons.
Yankees receive: Marcus Lawton /Mets receive: Scott Nielsen
Lawton made his Major League debut and played in the only 14 games of his Major League career after the transaction. He played with three other organizations after his short stint with the Yankees and was out of baseball after the 1992 season.
Nielsen was a “revolving door” pitcher. The Mariners traded him to the Yankees in 1984. In January 1987, the Yankees traded him to the White Sox, only to reacquire him in November. He never played a game in the Majors for the Mets or any other team after the deal was made.
Yankees receive: Rafael Santana and Victor Garcia /Mets receive: Steve Frey, Phil Lombardi, and Darren Reed
Santana played 148 games at shortstop for the Yankees in 1988 and was terrible both with the bat and glove. He recorded a .583 OPS that included a .294 slugging percentage. His 22 errors, the second highest of his career, didn’t make him a fan favorite either. Santana, who spent the first six years of his career in the Yankees’ farm system, missed the 1989 season with an elbow injury. He played seven games for the 1990 Indians but was released in April, ending his career.
Garcia never made it to the Major Leagues and only played five games above Double-A in the minors.
The Mets traded Frey to Montreal in 1989 and he spent eight seasons as a pretty good reliever for five organizations. Lombardi spent all of 1988 and most of the 1989 season in the minors. He got into 18 games for the Mets in 1989 and retired after the season.
Reed made his Major League debut with the Mets in 1990 but didn’t impress. In April 1981 the Mets traded him to the Expos but he missed the season due to an injury. He played 56 games for the Expos and Twins in 1992 but after playing in Mexico and for other organizations he retired at the end of 1996.
Yankees receive: Steve Ray and Felix Perdomo/Mets receive: Tucker Ashford
Neither Ray nor Perdomo ever made it to the Majors.
Ashford had 178 Major League games under his belt when the trade was made. The utility infielder played 35 games, including one at catcher, in his only season with the Mets. His last trip to the Majors was for nine games with the Royals in 1984.
Yankees receive: Marshall Brant/Mets receive: Cash considerations
The 6’5″ first baseman had two cups of coffee in the Majors: three games for the Yankees in 1980 and five games for the 1983 A’s.
Yankees receive: Roy Staiger /Mets receive: Sergio Ferrer
Staiger played in 148 games for the Mets but only got into four games for the Yankees in 1979. He spent the 1980 season in the minors to round out his career.
Ferrer never played for the Yankees but played 56 games with the Twins. His 69 games played for the Mets over a two-year span finished his Major League playing career. He spent some time in the Reds’ farm system and one year in the Mexican League before retiring after the 1982 season.
There was a 1972 three-team trade with the Expos involved but it doesn’t appear the Yankees receiving anything outside of cash. And, that cannot be confirmed via research. The Yankees sent Tommie Sheppard to the Expos and Montreal sent Dave McDonald to the Mets.
Yankees receive: Cash considerations/Mets receive: Hal Reniff
Reniff spent over six seasons as a solid reliever in the Bronx and participated in two World Series. After a June deal sent him to the Mets, Reniff made the last 29 relief appearances of his career.
Yankees receive: Cash considerations/Mets receive: Bob Friend
Friend was nearing the end of a 15-year Major League career, the majority of which was with Pittsburgh. He was a three-time All-Star with the Pirates and once won 22 games. The Yankees traded for him prior to the 1966 season, but flipped him to the Mets in June. With the Mets, Friend made eight starts and came out of the bullpen four times in his final Major League stint.
There you have it. Outside of one very good year from Ventura, every single trade was underwhelming. So remember… “No deGrom, No Thor, No Mets”.