Something the New York Mets haven’t done much in their history is trade a veteran for prospects and come away as the winner. In the case of this trade with the San Francisco Giants, it’s debatable who came out on top.
At the 2011 trade deadline, the Mets were going nowhere. The Giants were hoping to repeat so they pulled off a straight one-for-one deal.
Soon-to-be Mets free agent Carlos Beltran was traded to the Giants for minor league pitcher Zack Wheeler. While it was a seller’s move, it was the best trade the Mets have made with the Giants.
The best Mets trade with the Giants was the selling of Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler
Beltran wasn’t going to return to the Mets in 2012 so it made sense to deal him away mid-year in 2011. Unlike so many bad trade deadline deals, the Mets weren’t looking to stockpile minor leaguers. They shot big and pulled in Wheeler.
In 2013, Wheeler made his debut for the Mets. He had two successful seasons in 2013 and 2014. Along with some other bright young pitching stars, the Mets looked like they could turn it around on the backs of their starting five.
Injuries took their toll on Wheeler early on. He missed all of 2015 and 2016. When he returned for 17 starts in 2017, he was one of many bad Mets starters. However, in 2018 and 2019, he was superb. The only problem: the rest of the team wasn’t and the two years he missed were the ones where his team actually did make the postseason.
Wheeler’s Mets numbers would include a 44-38 record and 3.77 ERA in 126 starts.
Honorable mention Mets trades with the Giants
The trade history between these two clubs seems to include a couple of asterisks. For instance, in 1972, the Mets traded Charlie Williams and $50,000 to the Giants for an aging Willie Mays. Mays was “just all right” with the Mets in his year and a half with the club.
A few years later, the Mets purchased Dave Kingman from the Giants for $150,000. Because this wasn’t an actual trade involving players or personnel, I can’t really count it. It still deserves a mention.
Beltran for Wheeler is one of the greatest outlier deals in Mets history. So many times they traded away veterans for prospects who never panned out. Wheeler appeared to do so even if injuries took him away from the field for two playoff seasons and free agency led him elsewhere right as he was getting to his best.