The worst Mets trade for an outfielder in team history

Juan Samuel gets ready at bat
Juan Samuel gets ready at bat / Stephen Dunn/GettyImages

What’s the worst trade the New York Mets have ever made for an outfielder? It has to be the time they traded one of their own outfielders for someone else’s.

Everything about this absolutely brutal trade checks off the boxes of badness. The trade: Juan Samuel for Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell, and a minor leaguer.

The worst NY Mets trade for an outfielder was the one for Juan Samuel

The first need for a trade to be one of the all-time worst comes from the performance by players. Samuel hit .228/.299/.300 for the Mets in 370 plate appearances. It’s all he’d ever get to do. The Mets were so fed up with his lousy performance they shipped him off to the Los Angeles Dodgers the following offseason.

Meanwhile, Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell would have many productive big league seasons. They’d start by doing it with the Philadelphia Phillies. The fact that this was a trade with the Phillies further adds to the lore of how horrific this deal is.

The other team involved matters a little bit in determining where a bad trade will rank. Getting robbed by a team you never see can help mask the disappointment. The Mets and Phillies had plenty of battles with Dykstra at the top of their lineup in the early 1990s. When he kicked it into full gear in 1993, Samuel was a distant memory for the Mets but the pain of the deal continued to linger.

This trade is a little extra special in dreadfulness because of the final fact. Couldn’t they have kept Dykstra and not made the trade at all? Samuel had only recently transitioned to the outfield for the Phillies after spending most of his career as a second baseman.

The Mets had a perfectly good center fielder already on the roster. Instead of simply moving forward, they sent him and one of their better relievers to a rival for an absolute bust. Trades don’t get much worse than this. Among outfielders the Mets have acquired, this is the worst.