2) Worst June Mets Trades – Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell for Juan Samuel on June 18, 1989
We often think of this as the Lenny Dykstra trade because he had the most immediate success following the deal. However, we need to also make note of the two other incredibly important players in this trade, Roger McDowell and Juan Samuel.
McDowell was the main cohort to travel with Dykstra to the Philadelphia Phillies in this deal. They were later joined by Tom Edens, a future MLB journeyman reliever with minimal innings under his belt. The crux of this deal came down to how the Mets managed to swap a talented reliever and outfielder for an absolute bust.
Samuel is one of those Mets players we all like to forget. Following the trade on June 18, 1989, he hit only .228 down the stretch in his final 370 plate appearances. This wasn’t the same speedy yet powerful player they had faced so many times in Philly. This version of Samuel was far less productive.
As a result, they traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in December.
What makes this such a bad Mets trade is how well Dykstra and McDowell did in Philadelphia. McDowell doesn’t get enough credit for the kind of career he had both in New York and Philadelphia. With the Mets, he was 33-29 with a 3.13 ERA and 84 saves. In his brief time with the Phillies across parts of three seasons, McDowell went 12-17 but with a 2.90 ERA. He also converted 44 saves.
The biggest difference-maker of all in this trade was, of course, Dykstra. After slashing .278/.350/.413 during his time with the Mets, Dykstra went on to hit .289/.388/.422 with the Phillies. He was a three-time All-Star with the Phillies and the runner-up MVP in 1993.
I can’t say enough about how poorly this trade worked out for the Mets. Regardless of what Dykstra was taking to make him a star, it was a deal that haunted the team.