1 Mets trade quietly becoming a bust twice over

Boston Red Sox v Philadelphia Phillies
Boston Red Sox v Philadelphia Phillies / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

The New York Mets officially parted ways with Khalil Lee several days ago. He was hitting just .185/.299/.323 in 77 plate appearances for Syracuse. Add in the domestic violence accusation from the preseason and there was very little reason to hold onto him.

Lee originally came to the Mets via the Kansas City Royals as part of a three-team deal also involving the Boston Red Sox. A few future New York Yankees left fielders (Andrew Benintendi and Franchy Cordero) were included in the moving and shaking. In order to get Lee from the Royals, the Mets gave up a pitcher named Josh Winckowski.

You may not remember Winckowski’s tenure with the Mets or any of their affiliates. That’s because he was first acquired on January 27, 2021, from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Steven Matz deal. About two weeks later on February 10, 2021, he was shipped to Boston and the Mets picked up a promising outfielder.

Briefly a member of the NY Mets organization, Josh Winckowski is someone we’d want back

Winckowski made his MLB debut for the Red Sox last season pitching mostly as a starter with a relief appearance mixed in. He was 5-7 with a 5.89 ERA in 70.1 innings of work. It wasn’t the kind of performance where there was any seller’s remorse.

The Red Sox have utilized him exclusively as a reliever in 2023 with much better success. He’s now 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA after 24 innings spanning 14 appearances. Quick math shows us he has been able to give them more than an inning at a time on a regular basis. He’s getting opportunities to pitch in the seventh and eighth often, working as a setup man for Kenley Jansen.

Seeing as the Mets have struggled to develop any young relievers at all, Winckowski would have a vital role in the bullpen right now had he remained. The club did keep Yennsy Diaz and Sean Reid-Foley from the Matz trade. Both were DFA’d at one point with SRF back with the team on a new minor league deal.

Winckowski isn’t going to go down as one of those biggest failures of all time, but it definitely stinks to see how much went wrong with the two trades he was involved in. The Mets may have kept the two worst pitchers they acquired from the Blue Jays and shipped out the best one for a failed prospect.

Winckowski joins a list with more prominent big leaguers like David Justice, Charles Johnson, and Joe Randa as guys who were traded to the Mets and dealt away before ever playing a game for the organization. There is a long way to go to see if he has a career like any of those three.