No. 10: Mets trade for Lenny Harris, 2000
All baseball fans who know the name Lenny Harris associate him with one thing: pinch-hits. With 212 pinch-hits in his career, Harris is the all-time leader in coming off the bench and succeeding with a bloop or a blast.
On June 2, 2000, the Mets made a smart move and made a swap with the Arizona Diamondbacks. They sent former top pitching prospect Bill Pulsipher to the desert in exchange for Harris.
The Mets were already familiar with Harris. In 1998, they traded John Hudek to the Cincinnati Reds and landed Harris for the first time. He didn’t play particularly well in his first stint. Fortunately, the results were significantly better in round two.
At the time of the trade, Harris had only a .188 batting average with the Diamondbacks. He turned things around quickly with New York. Harris received 157 plate appearances with the Amazins in 2000 and took advantage of it. He went on to slash .304/.381/.457. Knowing they had him on the bench certainly contributed in capturing a playoff spot.
As a pinch-hitter, Harris hit .268/.305/.304 with 15 hits in 60 plate appearances. These numbers aren’t particularly spectacular, but he made up for it with success in other situations. Surprisingly, Harris had good numbers when he started for the Mets in 2000. When he got his name on the lineup card, he hit .273/.335/.429 compared to the .232/.274/.275 he slashed as a substitute.
Depth moves like these often help a team inch over the finish line. Sometimes those pieces end up as playoff heroes. While Harris didn’t have a single hit in the postseason for the Mets, one cannot deny the impact he had on the regular season.