#1 Mike Piazza
Coming in at number one for the best trade in franchise history, we have Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza. On May 22nd, 1998 the Mets acquired Piazza from the Florida Marlins in exchange for minor league pitchers Geoff Goetz and Ed Yarnall, and outfielder Preston Wilson.
Goetz never ended up making the major leagues and Yarnall was traded the following offseason to the New York Yankees before reaching the Major Leagues as well.
Preston went on to have a couple of solid seasons with the Marlins before they traded him to the Colorado Rockies. He played in four and a half seasons with the Marlins and combined to hit .262/.333/.473/.806 with 104 home runs, 329 RBI, 87 stolen bases, and 315 runs scored over 588 games played with a second-place finish in Rookie of the Year voting, an All-Star game selection, and a sixteenth place finish in MVP voting.
As for the Mets return, they got the best home run hitting catcher in baseball history. Piazza played seven and a half years with the Mets and did not disappoint. In those seven and a half seasons, he combined to hit .296/.373/.542/.915 with 220 home runs, 655 RBI, and 532 runs scored over 972 games played with seven All-Star game selections, five silver slugger awards, and a fourteenth, thirteenth, seventh, and third-place finish in MVP voting.
Piazza’s best season by WAR was actually in 1998 where he only played in 109 games for the Mets once being traded for. In those 109 games, Piazza hit .348/.417/.607/1.024 with 23 home runs, 76 RBI, 137 hits, and 67 runs scored with a 5.4 WAR whiling being selected to an All-Star game, winning a silver slugger award, and finishing fourteenth in MVP voting.
His best full season in New York came two years later in 2000. That season he went on to hit .324/.398/.614/1.012 with 38 home runs, 113 RBI, 156 hits, and 90 runs scored in only 136 games played with 5.1 WAR, an All-Star game selection, a silver slugger award, and a third-place finish in MVP voting.
Although Piazza never won a World Series, he did everything he could when he arrived in his lone World Series in 2000. In the World Series, he hit .273 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI, 6 hits, and 3 runs scored in the five games.
Even though Piazza never won a World Series with the Mets like many others acquired via trade, he did make it to a World Series and is the only one to be inducted to the Hall of Fame as a Met. The Mets only gave up one real solid player but what they got in return with Piazza was far better.
He is currently tenth all-time in runs scored in Mets history, eighth in hits and doubles, third in home runs and RBI, seventh in batting average and on-base percentage, first in slugging percentage, and second in OPS. He is also tied for the Mets single-season record for RBI, has the best single-season OPS in Mets history, and would have the best slugging percentage if not for Dominic Smith’s shortened 2020 season.
During Piazza’s time in New York, he truly cemented himself as one of the game’s best hitters. Piazza is right at the top of about every offensive category in franchise history, the only player acquired by trade to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Met, and hit arguably the most important home run in franchise history in the first game back following the 9/11 attacks.
A couple of players that were close but just missed out on this list include pitchers David Cone, Al Leiter, Zack Wheeler, Addison Reed, and first baseman Carlos Delgado. If these guys could have stuck around for a few more seasons, had slightly better years, or helped lead their teams to a World Series run they could have found themselves on this list.
The Mets have acquired some of their best and most important players in their history via trade. Multiple guys who helped them win a World Series, All-Stars, gold glovers, silver sluggers, future Hall of Famers, and all-around great players in general.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
What do you think the best trade in Mets franchise history is?