The 1986 New York Mets were built largely through some awesome trades. If you’ve been paying attention, you may have already seen a few written about on Rising Apple these last few weeks. A few others still lie ahead.
One of those fantastic trades was the best the Mets ever made with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The year was 1983. Bob Bailor and Carlos Diaz went to the Dodgers while Ross Jones and a pitcher named Sid Fernandez came to Queens. Fernandez would go on to become one of the best pitchers the Mets ever had.
The best Mets trade with the Dodgers delivered Sid Fernandez to New York
Fernandez’s Mets totals include 98 wins and a 3.14 ERA. Lost during the years when Dwight Gooden was doing historic things was how consistently good Fernandez was for parts of ten seasons. He was only a rookie in 1984 and would stay with the team through the infamous 1993 campaign.
Run prevention was a big part of Fernandez’s game. And while he never won an ERA title and only got below 2.80 once (2.73 ERA in 1992), he was masterful in delivering the Mets exactly what they needed with a lot of predictability. It’s the reason why he ended his career with the club owning one of the better ERAs any Mets player ever did.
In 1986, Fernandez got his chance to pitch in the World Series for the only time in his career. The Mets moved in to the bullpen where he gave them 6.2 innings of work while allowing just a single run. It was a crucial part of the team’s success and somewhat underrated in terms of what he gave the team during his tenure.
Because he spent so long with the Mets, Fernandez was able to amass the ninth-highest WAR in club history at 29.2. Among pitchers, it’s the fourth-best.
Honorable mention Mets trades with the Dodgers
A lot of trades between these two clubs took place. Many had to deal with dumping a player nearing free agency. One of the most important early ones took place in November of 1966 when New York traded Jim Hickman and Ron Hunt to Los Angeles for Tommy Davis and Derrell Griffith. Davis was traded to the Chicago White Sox a year later, bring the Mets Al Weis and Tommie Agee.
Much more recently, the Mets picked up Roger Cedeno and Charles Johnson from the Dodgers in exchange for Arnie Gooch and Todd Hundley. Cedeno played well for the Mets. Johnson never played a game for them but was dealt to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Armando Benitez—the best Mets trade with that organization.
A few other minor deals took place. The Fernandez trade remains the best.