Most of the best New York Mets pitchers were either developed in the system or acquired in free agency. A couple have come over in trades. Ron Darling was a minor leaguer picked up by the team in a deal with the Texas Rangers. Years later, the same thing happened with the already well-established Frank Viola.
The best trade the Mets have made for a starting pitcher is a little more recent. A two-time Cy Young winner and a man who would go on to make franchise history, it was a swap with the Minnesota Twins for Johan Santana that should go down as the best deal for a starting pitcher in franchise history.
Why the best NY Mets trade for a starting pitcher was the Johan Santana deal
A year away from entering free agency, the Twins felt the need to trade Santana before losing him for nothing at all. The Mets acted quickly. Immediately upon adding him to the ball club, Santana was signed to an extension. It made sure that they’d get more than the 2008 season with him on the roster.
The trade itself was a lopsided affair even if Santana was originally a rental. Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber, and Kevin Mulvey were the four sent to the Twins in the deal. Gomez would go on to have a decent career but not until after leaving the Twins. Santana’s impact was felt immediately in New York.
Santana led the league with a 2.53 ERA and 234.1 innings in his first year with the Mets. A 16-7 record furthered his case for the Cy Young. He’d finish third in what began as a hopeful Mets season that ultimately concluded with a collapse.
Santana remained the ace of the Mets staff through 2010. Injuries were short-lived until they caught up with him for the 2011 season when he missed the entire year. He’d return in 2012 a shell of his former self but with one last spectacular show to put on.
It was on June 1, 2012, when Santana pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history. It was a nice way to cap off his career with the team in what would be his final MLB season.
Santana would make 109 total starts, go 46-34, and finish with a 3.18 ERA in parts of four seasons. The injuries derailed the track he was on and may have cost him a potential Hall of Fame bid. Imagine what Santana could’ve accomplished if he managed to stay on the field.
Despite some disappointment, this was a winning deal for the Mets. It remains the best trade for a starting pitcher the club has made.