I think you had to “be there” to understand the logic behind this trade. Back in December of 1996, the New York Mets somehow managed to pull off a brilliant trade with the Toronto Blue Jays and even get some cash in the deal, too.
In exchange for Robert Person, the Mets picked up John Olerud.
For the next three seasons, first base was set! The Mets had one of the franchise’s best to ever play the position.
The best Mets trade with the Blue Jays was the theft of John Olerud
From the Blue Jays’ perspective, it made some sense to move on from Olerud. They had another future Mets first baseman, Carlos Delgado, coming up. Olerud was more expensive at this point and the team decided to go in another direction.
Person would go 8-13 with a 6.18 ERA in his time with the Blue Jays. He never became a consistent big league pitcher, spending most of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Olerud, on the other hand, was brilliant with the Mets. I’m not even sure where to start with his numbers. He hit with some decent power, drove in runs, drew walks, and in 1998 slashed .354/.447/.551.
His totals with the Mets included a .315/.425/.501 slash line, 109 doubles, 63 home runs, 291 RBI, and 306 walks compared to 206 strikeouts! He might, in fact, be one of the most underrated players from those three years because of all of the home runs that were being hit by other first basemen.
Honorable mention Mets trades with the Blue Jays
I think when most Mets fans think of trades with the Blue Jays it’s the R.A. Dickey deal that comes to mind. In December of 2012, the reigning Cy Young winner was dealt along with two others to the Blue Jays for a package of guys that was headlined by Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard. If not for injuries, this deal would have surely been far more favorable in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, it was a sweet deal for New York.
More recently, the Marcus Stroman trade in mid-2019 looks like a good one as well. Anthony Kay hasn’t developed as some thought he could. Simeon Woods-Richardson is now with the Minnesota Twins, hoping to make an impact for them.
The Olerud deal should be regarded as one of the better ones the Mets made with any team. With the Blue Jays, it’s number one.