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New York Mets History

Mets trade history with the Indians highlighted by two epic disasters

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 6: Eric Young Jr. #22 of the New York Mets is tagged out by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Cleveland Indians after being caught in a run down during the eighth inning at Progressive Field on September 6, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 6: Eric Young Jr. #22 of the New York Mets is tagged out by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Cleveland Indians after being caught in a run down during the eighth inning at Progressive Field on September 6, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Mets
18 Jul 1998: Infielder Carlos Baerga #8 of the New York Mets in the dugout during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. The Mets defeated the Phillies 7-0.

July 29, 1996

On July 29, 1996, the Indians sent Carlos Baerga and Alvaro Espinoza to the Mets for Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino. At the time, the move didn’t seem so bad. Baerga was a star second baseman in the American League. Even though it cost them Kent and Vizcaino, the deal didn’t seem so horrible.

Well, things got worse pretty fast. Espinoza was already near the end of his career. While he did hit well for the 1996 Mets, he didn’t stay beyond that year. Baerga, meanwhile, hit only .191 in his first 91 plate appearances for the Mets in 1996. He bounced back with an okay 1997 campaign and a much poorer 1998 season.

Instead of hitting 15-20 home runs with tremendous run production and a high batting average like he showed he was capable of while with Cleveland, Baerga was a light-hitting middle infielder. More than two decades later, his name still makes Mets fans ill.

During his 306 games played for the Mets, Baerga batted .267/.302/.373 with 18 home runs and 116 RBI. For an example of how far below expectations this was, Baerga batted .321/.355/.486 with 21 home runs and 114 RBI in 1993.

On the other end of this deal, Vizcaino finished the year strong for Cleveland before playing a few more places. He wasn’t the part of this trade that made it really bad. Giving up Kent so early in his career is what gives the Mets nightmares.

Kent’s best years came with the San Francisco Giants. In 2000, he reached the pinnacle of his career, capturing the National League MVP Award. He finished his career with 377 total home runs. The Mets gave him—someone with his best years ahead—up for one who was already beginning to fade; Baerga.

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