The player was bad. The trade, not so much. The New York Mets landed themselves a catfish prior to the 2002 season. From 1990-2001, Robert Alomar was an All-Star. He won Gold Gloves regularly, made his presence known in the MVP race, and he was even coming off of a 100 RBI year while batting .336.
Here’s the problem. Alomar was in his mid-30s and time was apparently catching up with him very quickly. The Mets saw differently. They made a trade with the Cleveland Indians for a future Hall of Famer way past his prime.
We remember the results, but the trade itself didn’t make us all that miserable.
The Mets trade for Roberto Alomar wasn’t as bad as we remember
Cleveland threw in Danny Peoples and Mike Bacsik in the deal on December 11, 2001. The Mets would send Alex Escobar, Matt Lawton, Jerrod Riggan, Earl Snyder, and Billy Trader to the Indians. It was a mix of prospects and veterans. Escobar and Trader were pretty big deals among the prospects. However, neither panned out. Escobar played only 125 MLB games. Traber pitched in 96 of them.
Lawton may have been the biggest loss for the Mets. He ended up having an All-Star season in 2004 for Cleveland but he was rather unproductive in the two seasons prior.
What makes Alomar a curse word for Mets fans is the lack of production he gave New York. It was a hugely disappointing addition. In his year and a half with the team, Alomar batted .265/.333/.370. His decline was so sharp it could’ve cut through meat that hadn’t fully thawed.
Alomar will always remain one of those big busts in franchise history, but the trade itself wasn’t so harsh. Not much was lost from the Mets organization. The only second-guessing to make is whether or not they could have added someone else with those pieces.
For a bit of irony or at least salt in the wound, the Mets would later trade him to the Chicago White Sox and acquire Royce Ring as one of the pieces they go back. Ring's time with the Mets ended when he was packaged alongside Heath Bell in a trade with the San Diego Padres. Bell quickly found himself with the Padres and became one of the league's best closers.