August 8, 1997 – Mets make a blockbuster trade with the Cubs
This trade is different from the rest on my list because it includes a couple of familiar names. Some of the past Mets trades made in August included lesser-known players. They were finishing pieces for clubs. Not this August 8, 1997 deal between the Mets and Chicago Cubs. Everyone involved had a major role to play.
Coming to New York, we have outfielder Brian McRae and pitchers Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell. To the Cubs, we have outfielder Lance Johnson, infielder Manny Alexander, and pitcher Mark Clark.
This might not exactly be the blockbuster trade that includes baseball legends. Nonetheless, it had an impact on a variety of places.
McRae wasn’t too great for the Mets in 1997 but did rebound with a very productive season in 1998. Johnson did what he did best with the Cubs, hitting for a high average. Injuries did begin to take this toll, however.
Without going into every detail of this trade, the most notable player to change hands was probably reliever Turk Wendell. A lifelong Cub up until this point, he remained with the Mets through mid-2001. During those years, he became a fan favorite and core member of the team’s bullpen.
A note on Rojas: he was the player traded away to bring Bobby Bonilla back to the Mets. In case you’re keeping score at home, he had a hand in Bobby Bonilla Day.