One of the worst trades the Texas Rangers ever made was a great benefit to the New York Mets. The Mets spent the early part of the 1980s adding pieces to the roster. Many of them would become huge parts of the 1986 championship.
On April 1, 1982, the Rangers were the fools when they decided to make a deal with the Mets. In exchange for Lee Mazzilli, the Mets picked up Walt Terrell and a young kid named Ron Darling.
Terrell would end up getting flipped later in for the best Mets trade with the Detroit Tigers which brought them Howard Johnson. Even without this consideration, the best Mets trade with the Rangers is the one that brought them Mr. Darling.
The best Mets trade with the Rangers included an important pitcher and broadcaster
Mazzilli only ended up spending half of the 1982 season with the Rangers where he hit only .241. He was traded in August of that year to the New York Yankees for Bucky Dent. Already, this trade was beginning to turn in favor of the blue and orange.
Darling made his MLB debut in 1983, starting five games for the Mets and going 1-3 with a 2.80 ERA. It was only the start of what would turn into the best careers of any Mets pitcher.
Darling would end up pitching in 257 games for the Mets. He’d have a 99-70 record and 3.50 ERA across those 1620 innings of work. Darling was essential to the 1986 team, winning 15 games for them in the regular season while posting a 2.81 ERA. For his efforts, he finished fifth in the Cy Young race.
Honorable mention Mets trades with the Rangers
These two clubs have made a number of not-so-memorable trades over the years. Often, one is selling a player near the end of his contract for minor league players. Other times, it’s a low-level roster spot swap.
Nothing even comes close to the deal for Darling and Terrell. In a very roundabout way, the 1979 Willie Montanez for Ed Lynch and Mike Jorgensen deal could count. Lynch had some success with the Mets in the early and mid-1980s. The trade was probably more of a draw than anything else.
From a Rangers’ perspective, the Darling trade is one of the worst they’ve ever made. For the Mets, it’s one of the best.