A forgotten bad trade in New York Mets history is the 1998 deal between them and the Kansas City Royals involving Joe Randa.
On December 4, 1998, the Mets acquired him in a trade with the Detroit Tigers. All it cost them was Willie Blair, a relief pitcher whose best years were already behind him.
Six days later on December 10, the Mets turned around and traded Randa yet again. This time, he went to the Kansas City Royals. Headed back to New York in this trade was Juan LeBron—a minor leaguer who never reached the big leagues.
Randa wasn’t an All-Star player in his dozen big league seasons or a name casual fans remember much about. Randa did, however, put together a fine career which included a .284/.339/.426 slash line. In his first two seasons with the Royals following the trade from the Mets, he hit over .300 and even surpassed 100 RBI in one of them.
The Royals weren’t a winning ball club during Randa’s years with them. But it had little to do with him. He quietly had 197 hits in 1999. This would have been the second-most in Mets history if he did it while calling Shea Stadium home.
Instead of Randa at third base in 1998, the Mets went with Edgardo Alfonzo. It wasn’t a poor choice. The killer was the fact that Carlos Baerga was still at second base. Move Fonzie there and the hot corner opens up.
This period of baseball in Flushing included plenty of bad trades and some risky moves. It pre-dated the Mike Piazza trade and Robin Ventura free agent signing. The Randa trade gets lumped in more with the trades involving Rico Brogna and David Segui. New York lost those deals in a big way not only because of what they lost but also for what they got back: very little.
While the Mets were able to overcome this move with Ventura at third base in 1999, there’s no question they made a mistake in getting so little in return for Randa. The man was red hot for the Royals for several years. Had they been able to get anything of value in return for him, we can look back at this forgotten Mets trade a little more fondly.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Instead, it’s one we can easily brush under the rug because Randa never actually played a game for the Mets.