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New York Mets History

3 Mets players traded away before they ever played a game for the team

15 Jul 1998: Catcher Charles Johnson #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in action behind the plate during a game against the San Francisco Giants at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Ha
15 Jul 1998: Catcher Charles Johnson #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in action behind the plate during a game against the San Francisco Giants at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Ha
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Charles Johnson was acquired by the New York Mets in a trade and then dealt away on the same day. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr. /Allsp

When does one officially become a member of the New York Mets? Some say it’s when they suffer their first ridiculous injury. Others claim it’s when there’s some kind of controversy that has nothing to do with the actual game itself.

Whatever makes someone a member of the Mets organization, some last much longer than others. These three players acquired via trade were sent packing quickly.

How fast were they flipped to another team? So quickly there was probably never even a uniform sewn for them.

Charles Johnson was traded to the Mets on 12/1/1998 and traded that same day to the Baltimore Orioles

True story: my dad once had his car break down on the highway and to help pay for the tow truck he gave the driver a bat signed by Charles Johnson. An excellent fielding catcher who turned into a pretty good hitter as well, Johnson was one of the early stars on the Florida Marlins.

After missing the 1998 postseason, the Mets were eager to make sure they wouldn’t skip out on the playoffs again in 1999. They got off to an awesome start on December 1 with a flurry of moves. One brought Johnson and Roger Cedeno from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Arnie Gooch and Todd Hundley.

Johnson had already been involved in a trade back in May of that year which had a few future and former Mets involved in it. On May 14, 1998, the Marlins traded him to the Dodgers with Manuel Barrios, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, and Jim Eisenreich. The Marlins landed Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile in the deal. Any of those names sound familiar?

Johnson’s time with the Mets didn’t last long as they already had Piazza signed long-term. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles the same day he was acquired. In return, the Mets found their new closer, Armando Benitez.

I don’t think there’s much to do debate about this actual trade because of how secure the Mets were at Johnson’s position. Even if he did go on to have success thereafter and eventually rejoined the Marlins in 2001, this was merely a move to get something from the Dodgers so they could then acquire something else from the Orioles.

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