There are bad New York Mets trades. And then there are pointless ones.
Why make a deal for something when you appear to already have the answer on your ball club? The purpose of making a trade should be to make your team better or at least set yourself up for more success.
Some of the worst Mets trades can be justified even if we don’t agree with them. A Mets trade as epically infuriating as the Tom Seaver one at least came down to money. In these three instances, the Mets looked in all of the wrong places for a solution.
1) Pointless NY Mets trade: Rusty Staub for Mickey Lolich
Rusty Staub was one of the most important position players for the Mets from 1972-1975. After four seasons in Flushing, the team sent him and Bill Laxton to the Detroit Tigers for Billy Baldwin and Mickey Lolich.
The trade was a failure for a number of reasons beyond just performance. Staub continued to produce while Lolich never wanted to be on the Mets roster in the first place. He originally refused the trade, a right he had as a veteran player. He gave in and the Mets made what became one of the more pointless trades they ever did.
Pitching was plentiful for the Mets already. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Jon Matlack all had awesome years. Craig Swan was decent. Even Lolich performed well.
It’s understandable why the Mets felt they needed to subtract an outfielder from the roster. Dave Kingman became the starting right fielder in place of Staub. They had Ed Kranepool and John Milner covering first base and left field with Joe Torre getting his licks at the former often.
The Mets had far greater needs than an aging veteran pitcher who didn’t want to be on their team. Third base and center field stand out as the two most obvious.
A lot was wrong with this Mets trade. Staub may have needed to be traded. It shouldn’t have been for Lolich who chose to retire after the season.