As the Mets prepare to sell (again) during this year’s trade deadline, it seems appropriate to look back at “highly touted” prospects acquired by the team midseason that later flopped while playing in Flushing.
Given the parameters, the good news is that neither Jarred Kelenic or Justin Dunn will ever make this list!
Acquired at the trade deadline in 1995 from Baltimore in exchange for Bobby Bonilla, the 23-year-old, five-star prospect, was envisioned to be a star outfielder for years to come. Unfortunately, he never lived up to the promise while a member of the Mets. That said, he did earn a World Series ring as a member of the 2002 Anaheim Angels. Yes, that’s so Mets.
Perhaps the most memorable game I can think of involving Alex Ochoa was when he hit for the cycle against the Phillies in Philadelphia back in July of 1996. To the best of my recollection, it was the first time I ever saw a Met hit for the cycle. If nothing else, the clip below is worth watching because the Howie Rose call is pretty awesome.
Jim Duquette’s first acquisition as Mets interim GM, Royce Ring was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Roberto Alomar Jr., to the Chicago White Sox. At the time of the deal, the former first-round lefty had 19 saves and a 2.52 ERA for Double-A Birmingham. Ring was deemed to be a “closer of the future,” but never reached those heights. During his five-year career, he pitched to a 5.29 ERA, with no career saves. Ring was dealt during the 2006 off-season with Heath Bell to San Diego, in what has to make the list of worst Mets deals in franchise history. Bell, the portly, three-time all-star, would record 168 saves after leaving New York.
I remember seeing Ring pitch for the Binghamton Mets in 2003 as I was interning for the New Haven Ravens. While his stuff was solid, I remember not being impressed by his presence on or off-the-field. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something that told me he wasn’t going to make it in New York. But hey, he did sign this baseball for me, which I proudly showcase in my home office to this day!
Acquired from the Colorado Rockies just before the trade deadline in exchange for All-Star Bret Saberhagen in 1995, the pitcher was snake-bitten with the Mets from the start. Within a week of the trade, Acevedo received an MRI for a balky pitching elbow. He later missed time due to ribcage and hamstring injuries. The cherry on the cake was having his ’96 season end prematurely after suffering a stress fracture in his leg. Maybe he was the perfect fit for the Mets after all.
After finally pitching for the team in ’97 – mostly as a reliever – Acevedo was traded to the Cardinals where he went 8-3 with a 2.56 ERA. That’s so Mets.
Outfielder Ryan Thompson was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays, along with future star Jeff Kent, for David Cone in 1992. I honestly can’t say much about Thompson’s tenure with the Mets, other than he always flashed a million-dollar smile. And he later played briefly with the Yankees. Oh, and my cousin Puppy Smooth still has his Starting Lineup action figure.
The Mets have made several trade deadline and midseason moves in recent seasons. While most of these deals have been salary dumps and/or for low-level prospects, maybe – just maybe – one of the prospects below will make this list someday. Get your popcorn ready!
- Jacob Rhame: Acquired from Dodgers for Curtis Granderson. Rhame has already made his mark by writing the next chapter in the Mets-Phillies rivalry.
- Eric Hanhold: Acquired from Milwaukee for Neil Walker.
- Drew Smith: Acquired from Tampa Bay for Lucas Duda. The Mets bullpen could have surely used him this season. Unfortunately, after a solid 2018 debut, Smith underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this year.
- Franklyn Kilome: Acquired from Philadelphia in exchange for Asdrubal Cabrera. A member of the 40-man roster, Kilome has missed the 2019 season due to….Tommy John surgery. Doesn’t anyone in the Mets front office look at medical records before making a trade?!
- Stephen Nogosek: Acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Addison Reed, the 24-year-old reliever has had a cup of coffee with the 2019 Mets bullpen. That sentence is not a good resume starter for the reliever, but again, only time will tell.