At the 2004 trade deadline, the New York Mets added Kris Benson in a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates. How did the trade work out?
There was a period of New York Mets baseball between the 2000 World Series run and the trip to the 2006 NLCS which saw a lot of bad transactions. One of those trades that didn’t work out so well happened in 2004. It was a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates for former number one overall pick Kris Benson.
The Benson trade isn’t one I think about often. The Mets finished 2004 with a 71-91 record. The deal for Benson didn’t help them climb above .500 for good like many big trade deadline moves are supposed to.
On July 30, 2004, the Mets acquired Benson and infielder Jeff Keppinger for three players. Those men were Matt Peterson, Ty Wigginton, and a future Mets player, Jose Bautista.
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The deal wasn’t a bust for New York. Peterson never made the big leagues. Wigginton had to go to make room for some kid named David Wright at third base. As for Bautista, he wouldn’t blossom for a few more years.
At the time, Benson was the big grab in the trade. In his 11 starts for the 2004 club, he gave them 11 starts, a 4-4 record, and 4.50 ERA.
This wasn’t what the orange and blue were looking for. Their starting rotation in 2004 needed much more help than what Benson was able to give them in just under a dozen starts.
Benson did stick around for one more year after 2004. In 2005, he started 28 games. The results were slightly better. He went 10-8 with a 4.13 ERA in what would be his final year with the Mets.
Benson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in January of 2006 for a pair of important players for the upcoming season. Pitchers Jorge Julio and John Maine made their way to New York in the trade.
Julio’s importance came when New York traded him that same year to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Orlando Hernandez. Maine went on to have a good 2006 season with another solid outing in 2007.
Things were different for Benson in Baltimore. In his 30 starts with the Orioles in 2006, he was 11-12 with a 4.82 ERA. Injuries cost him the next two seasons. In 2009, he returned to pitch 22.1 innings for the Texas Rangers which saw him throw up an 8.46 ERA. He wasn’t much better in his final 14 innings in 2010 with the Diamondbacks when he had a 5.14 ERA.
The Benson trade wasn’t a notably bad one in franchise history. None of the players dealt away had significant success with their new team. And although he was disappointing during his time in blue and orange, it wasn’t nightmarish like so many other trades in franchise history.
The trade wasn’t good or bad. I’m almost indifferent to it.
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Those days of Mets baseball are often forgotten for some very obvious reasons. There wasn’t much winning far too many of the trades like this one seemed to barely move the needle toward the postseason.