Mike Cameron was involved in some huge trades in his major league career. The man was dealt from the Chicago White Sox to the Cincinnati Reds straight up for Paul Konerko, a legend on the Southside of Chicago. He was later moved to the Seattle Mariners in the Ken Griffey Jr. trade. After two years with the New York Mets, he was traded for the third and final time of his career.
Cameron hit 30 home runs for the 2004 Mets. Because of his .231 batting average, I’m not so sure anyone appreciated it all that much. His real claim to fame came a year later when in 2005 he collided with Carlos Beltran in the outfield and suffered a concussion. He wouldn’t play another game for the Mets in a year where he had already missed all of April.
On November 18, 2005, the Mets traded Mike Cameron to the San Diego Padres for Xavier Nady
Cameron never did achieve with the Mets what many had hoped. Brought in as a free agent before the 2004 season, his defense suffered. He was a negative WAR defender in both years in New York which is odd because he won a Gold Glove the year before and after playing for the Mets.
Fortunately, the Mets were able to pick up a solid player in return for him. Xavier Nady was a productive member of the 2006 squad. In 292 trips to the plate, Nady hit 14 home runs to go with a respectable .264 batting average. He didn’t play more because on July 31, 2006, Nady’s time in New York came to an abrupt end.
It was at the trade deadline when the Mets flipped Nady to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a pair of pitchers. One we often forget about is veteran reliever Roberto Hernandez. He had been with the Mets in 2005 where he put together a fantastic season. Hernandez, pitching in his age 40 season, was 8-6 with a 2.58 ERA out of the bullpen. As a member of the 2006 Mets, he had a 3.48 ERA in 20.2 innings of work.
The Nady trade to Pittsburgh was highlighted by the other player the Mets acquired, Oliver Perez. Immediately, it became apparent that Perez wasn’t the right fit for the ball club.
Perez made 7 starts for the 2006 Mets. The results were unimaginably bad. He was 1-3 with a 6.38 ERA. The real mistake was buying into Perez’s success in 2007 (15-10, 3.56 ERA) and thinking his 2008 season (10-7, 4.22 ERA) was re-signing him in the offseason. There isn’t a swear word offensive enough to describe what he would do in 2009 and 2010.
Meanwhile, Nady hit .300 for the Pirates down the stretch in 2006 and remained a productive role-player in the big leagues for a few more seasons before declining in his early 30s. Cameron, in his first year after leaving New York, finished 21st in the MVP vote. He hit 21-25 home runs in each of the next four seasons with batting averages ranging from .242 to .268.
It’s amazing how the Cameron signing and subsequent trade ended up bringing Ollie Perez to the Mets. That’s the beauty of baseball. Sometimes players we don’t even link are somehow connected.
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And in case you’re curious if there are any other strange connections, I found one. In 2003, the Padres made a trade with the Pirates. This was the deal that first brought Perez to Pittsburgh. One of the players sent to the Padres was future Mets outfielder Jason Bay.