3) NY Mets Worst Trades: Lenny Dykstra to the Phillies for Juan Samuel
I think our top three reaches a whole new level of pain. In mid-1989, the Mets were still competitive but looking for a change. They made the decision, on June 18, to make a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. It sent Roger McDowell, a player to be named later (Tom Eden), and Lenny Dykstra to Philadelphia. The Mets got back Juan Samuel in return.
Where do we start with this one?
McDowell and Dykstra were important members of the Mets in the 1980s. Each would find success with their new team, Dykstra even more so. He was the runner-up in the MVP vote in 1993 during the Phillies’ march to the World Series. All the while, Samuel was long gone from New York and the Mets were spiraling through several seasons of attempting to rebuild their glory.
This was the epitome of a bad trade without a single notable prospect involved. Samuel was already struggling with the Phillies and the midseason change didn’t help matters. He hit only .228/.299/.300 in 370 plate appearances for the Mets in 1989. While he did steal 31 bases, it was a massive decline from what the team was getting out of Dykstra and platoon-mate Mookie Wilson for the last several seasons.
Hoping to erase the deal any way they could, the Mets traded Samuel before flipping to their 1990 calendars. As luck would have it, Samuel would become an All-Star again in 1991.