3) Mets bring in Sid Fernandez, the lefty anchor of their ’80s rotation
No offense to Ross Jones, but the real star of this trade was clearly the lefty pitcher Sid Fernandez. When the Mets acquired him and Jones in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers on December 8, 1983, in exchange for Bob Bailor and Carlos Diaz, Fernandez had barely pitched in the major leagues and was still finding his way after putting up eye-catching numbers in the minors. Once he came up to the majors for good with the Mets, he quickly found his footing.
If Dwight Gooden was the righthanded anchor of the Mets’ rotation throughout the mid-1980s, Fernandez was the lefty anchor. He pitched in Queens from 1984 all the way through the 1993 season, never putting up an ERA above 3.81 during that ten-year span. His most memorable appearance might have been his scoreless relief outing in Game 7 of the 1986 World Series, when he shut down the Boston Red Sox after Ron Darling had allowed three runs. The rest, as they say, was history.
Fernandez also rather quietly vaulted up the Mets franchise leaderboards while he pitched in Flushing. Among all Mets pitchers since 1962, Fernandez is sixth in pitcher WAR, fifth in wins, fourth in WHIP, fourth in strikeouts, and fifth in innings pitched. He never seems to make the “Mount Rushmore” of iconic Mets pitchers (nowadays, many would put Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Dwight Gooden, and Jacob deGrom ahead of him in that category).
Yet, Fernandez was a reliable, clutch pitcher in Queens for many years, for a franchise that has had very few players stay with the team for ten years or more. He was never the most athletic-looking guy on the team, but Fernandez was sneaky, deceptive, and dominant on the mound.
Currently, Fernandez is not as present in Metsland as other members of the ’86 team who work for the team in some capacity or frequent alumni gatherings. Given all that he gave to this franchise through his outstanding pitching season after season, I would love to hear more from him in the years to come.