1988 – Mackey Sasser trade
Two years after winning the World Series, the Mets were ready to head back there in 1988. The core was still in place and the team only made a small number of moves in preparation for a playoff run this time around.
The best move they made this year was a smaller one. On March 26, 1988, the Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates made a trade that sent Mackey Sasser to New York.
Starting catcher Gary Carter was nearing the end of his career. Injuries were beginning to pile up and the Mets needed a reliable backup just in case “The Kid” went down. Sasser filled the role valiantly in 1988 with a slash line of .285/.313/.407 in 131 plate appearances.
Although Sasser wasn’t a main component on the team this year, he gave the Mets a good backup plan behind the plate. Just as a team can never have enough pitching, there’s no such thing as having too few catching options.
1999 – Robin Ventura signing
The Mets made a lot of big changes between the end of the 1998 season and their playoff run in 1999. Deciding which the best was is somewhat of a challenge if you consider all of the factors.
However, when in doubt, it’s always easiest to pick the everyday player who hit .301 and won a Gold Glove.
This is exactly what Robin Ventura did in 1999. After spending his entire career with the Chicago White Sox, Ventura signed with the Mets on December 1, 1998. The Mets were on the uptick and upgrading with Ventura at the hot corner helped turn the franchise around in a big way.
Ventura was as close to an everyday player as you can get with 161 games played for the 1999 squad. In addition to slashing .301/.379/.529, the veteran third baseman hit 32 home runs and drove in a personal-best 120 runs.
By comparison to the other moves the team made heading into the year, Ventura seems like an easy selection. Without him, I’m not sure they make the postseason at all.