A large percentage of the trades discussed in terms of “the best” in New York Mets history are ones where the other team came out as the loser. The best trade with the San Diego Padres is a little different although we can still say the Mets were the ones waving the flag with the W after it was all said and done.
After the 1986 season, the Mets were riding high. They had a hole in left field to fill and decided to do it with a trade for Padres outfielder Kevin McReynolds.
Although McReynolds wouldn’t be one of the most beloved Mets during his tenure, he was productive nonetheless.
The best Mets trade with the Padres was the 1986 deal for Kevin McReynolds
The trade itself does have some controversy to it. The Mets picked up McReynolds with Adam Ging and Gene Walter. In return, the Padres hauled in a total of five players—two lifetime minor leaguers, former first overall draft bust Shawn Abner, Stan Jefferson, and Kevin Mitchell.
Mitchell would have been a candidate to play left field for the Mets in 1986. However, his reputation made him a trade casualty by New York. Mitchell struggled with San Diego and was traded to the San Francisco Giants in mid-1987. In 1989, he led the league in home runs and RBI on his way to winning the MVP.
McReynolds was no slouch himself. He hit 29 home runs and drove in 95 during the 1987 season. The Mets could count on him regularly for power and run production. He hit 20 or more home runs each season from 1987-1990 and drove in anywhere from 82-99 runs.
The 1988 campaign was especially important for McReynolds. On the team’s path toward capturing another National League East title, he was the third-place finisher in the MVP race. Although this deal did cost the Mets a future MVP, the team they dealt him away for didn’t get to reap those benefits.
Honorable mention Mets trades with the Padres
The trade history between the Mets and Padres is rather one-sided with the latter coming away a little more victorious. The Heath Bell deal was certainly a loss for New York and one of the club’s worst moves.
The 2005 Mike Cameron for Xavier Nady wasn’t such a bad deal for the Mets but seems like more of a draw than anything else. In a very roundabout way, maybe the 1977 Midnight Massacre move involving Dave Kingman was actually a win for the Mets. Kingman wasn’t going to help turn the team’s fortunes around. Receiving Bobby Valentine in the trade may have set up for him to become the club’s manager a few decades later.
The McReynolds swap in 1986 will have to remain as the best between these two.