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New York Mets History

Mets Trade History: Sending Robin Ventura to the Yankees in a rare deal

12 Apr 1999: A close up of Robin Ventura #4 of the New York Mets as he looks on before the game against the Florida Marlins at the Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York. The Mets defeated the Marlins 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport
12 Apr 1999: A close up of Robin Ventura #4 of the New York Mets as he looks on before the game against the Florida Marlins at the Shea Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York. The Mets defeated the Marlins 8-1. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport
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Big trades between the New York Mets and New York Yankees rarely happen. One of the more notable deals in recent history didn’t work out too well for the Mets when they sent Robin Ventura to the Bronx.

Trades between the New York Mets and New York Yankees are not a common occurrence. One of the few made in recent history didn’t work out too well for the Mets. They sent an All-Star to the Yankees and didn’t get much in return.

After the 2001 season, the Mets traded third baseman Robin Ventura to the Yankees for outfielder David Justice. The one-for-one trade was a rare one between these two city rivals and involves a pair of stars from the 1990s.

By this point, Ventura and Justice were nearing the end. In fact, Justice only played one more year in MLB. It wasn’t with the Mets, either.

Only a week after Justice joined the boys in Flushing, they flipped him to the Oakland Athletics for relief pitcher Mark Guthrie and prospect Tyler Yates. Justice put together a solid 2002 campaign with the famous Athletics squad featured in the film Moneyball. He called it quits after.

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Meanwhile, over in New York, Guthrie had a rather fantastic year that season. In 68 appearances, he went 5-3 with a 2.44 ERA. Unfortunately, Yates never developed into a notable big league pitcher. He only spent a little time with the Mets before becoming a journeyman elsewhere.

The notable performance in this trade, however, came off the bat of Ventura. In his first year with the Bronx Bombers, Ventura earned a trip to the All-Star Game. He clobbered 27 home runs while posting a .826 OPS.

Ventura’s time with the Yankees didn’t last long. He ended up as trade bait the following summer when the Yankees swapped him with the Los Angeles Dodgers for Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor. On the same day, they acquired Aaron Boone in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds.

This set off a chain of events including Boone’s big postseason home run and his current employment as the team’s manager in 2018.

As history shows, the Ventura deal was rather inconsequential for the Mets. They went only 75-86 in 2002. Even if he had stayed, it’s hard to believe their record would have been much better.

Trading within the division is regarded as a big “no-no” but trading a player to another team within your city has different rules. There are so few opportunities for it.

In this particular instance, the Mets watched from afar as Ventura proved he still had something left. Surely, it hurt. But it wasn’t as painful as it will be when the Chicago Cubs see the prospects they sent to the Chicago White Sox for Jose Quintana turn into stars.

Next: Is Tim Tebow a legitimate prospect?

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