2000 – Mike Hampton/Derek Bell trade
On December 23, 1999, the New York Mets gave their fans an early Christmas gift. In a deal with the Houston Astros, they landed National League Cy Young runner-up Mike Hampton and veteran outfielder Derek Bell. While the trade did cost them speedy outfielder Roger Cedeno and promising young pitcher Octavio Dotel, Hampton and Bell were tremendous for the 2000 Mets.
Hampton’s one season in New York included a 15-10 record and 3.14 ERA. He was the perfect co-ace with Al Leiter in a rotation with a heavy lefty-focus.
Bell also had a productive season in his one year with the orange blue. As the primary right fielder, he played in 144 games during which he produced a .266/.348/.425 batting line with 18 home runs.
Many of the best pieces the team needed for their 2000 postseason run were brought in a season prior. Hampton and Bell could be viewed as finishing touches to an already near-complete roster.
2006 – Carlos Delgado trade
A hat tip goes to the Mets for signing Billy Wagner prior to the 2006 season. However, as I stated before and will hold true to, there’s nothing like adding an everyday position player to the roster.
For this reason, the best move the Mets made prior to their 2006 postseason run was the November 24, 2005 trade for first baseman Carlos Delgado.
Acquired from the Florida Marlins in a trade where Mike Jacobs was the headliner, the Mets got Delgado as a steal. He hit 38 home runs and drove in 114 for the team in his first year.
For the first time in years, the team was without Mike Piazza in the lineup. Delgado made up for the missing offensive production Piazza gave them in the middle of the order. Even though he was well into his 30s at the time, Delgado was a slugging first baseman the Mets were not accustomed to seeing on the roster.