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Reviewing the Mets-Diamondbacks trade history

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Including Mr. Deferred Salary himself, Bernard Gilkey!

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Bernard Gilkey #23

Diamondbacks' assistant GM Jared Porter is apparently on his way to the Big Apple, to take over as GM of the New York Mets. Might that increase the chances of deals between the team, and his boss Mike Hazen here in Arizona? Only time will tell, but I thought it might be fun to look back at the trade history between the two teams. Not that we have seen much, especially of late. There have only been two Mets-Diamondbacks transactions in the past twelve years; for comparison, there have been eight with the other New York team over the same period. So it's probably safe to say, Porter's presence won't exactly do any harm!

Here's the full list, beginning with the most recent, along with an assessment of who came out on top of the deal.

September 6, 2018. The Arizona Diamondbacks purchased Patrick Kivlehan from the New York Mets. Not exactly a familiar name: when we did our roster Sporcle at the end of the season, less than a month later, Kivlehan was only remembered by 28% of participants. But Kivlehan did play for the D-backs in nine games down the stretch going 3-for-14. Fun fact: he’s the only position player in team history who had more triples than singles, two of his hits being three-baggers. Verdict: DRAW

August 30, 2015. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Addison Reed to the New York Mets for Miller Diaz (minors) and Matt Koch. Reed had been the team’s closer, and notched 32 saves the previous year. But he fell out of favor in 2015, and was replaced by Brad Ziegler after giving up a ninth-inning grand-slam to the Nats’ Michael Taylor on May 13. He went to the Mets in a post-deadline deal, and performed well for them. He had a 2,09 ERA in 145 games over two years. But fans there probably remember more his performance in the fifth and final game of the 2015 World Series where he allowed five runs in 0.1 innings, and took the loss. Koch played for us from 2016-19, but was mediocre (89 ERA+ in 125.1 IP), and Diaz never reached the majors. Verdict: METS

December 12, 2008. The New York Mets traded Scott Schoeneweis to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Connor Robertson. On the one hand, lefty reliever Schoeneweis did actually play for us, appearing 45 times in the 2009 season. Robertson never appeared for the Mets, and that was his final season in affiliated baseball. On the other though, Scott pretty much sucked. Only two players with as many appearances for Arizona have had a higher ERA than his 7.12: Matt Stites (7.13) and Eddie Oropesa (7.59). Six home-runs in 24 innings, and almost as many walks (13) as strikeouts (14) will do that. Verdict: DRAW

June 13, 2008. The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Trot Nixon to the New York Mets as part of a conditional deal. If you’d forgotten Nixon was ever part of the organization, there’s good reason for that. He had signed as a free-agent with the team in February, but spent the first half of the season with Triple-A Tucson, and didn’t get called up. The deal was apparently for cash or a player to be named later; I couldn’t find any indication of the latter, so am guessing Arizona got some money at some point. Nixon hit just .171 in eleven games for the Mets, and that was the end of his career. Verdict: DRAW

August 22, 2006. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Shawn Green and cash to the New York Mets for Evan MacLane. Green recently was mentioned here, as among the most forgotten outfielders in franchise history. He’d arrived from the Dodgers in a January 2005 trade, and signed a three-year, $32 million contract. The fact we had an article, “Which is worse: Shawn Green or Russ Ortiz?”, says all you need to know. We paid the Mets about half the $12.75 million remaining on his contract in this trade, but it’s still a win. Green was worth only 0.2 bWAR over 164 games there, while costing them $6.5 million. MacLane’s entire major-league career was one inning, four years later for the Cardinals. Verdict: D-BACKS

May 24, 2006. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Orlando Hernandez to the New York Mets for Jorge Julio. El Duque was pretty serviceable for the Mets, giving them a 107 ERA+ over 20 starts; he was good enough, they re-signed him as a free agent that winter. Julio became the D-backs closer, and was solid, with a 124 ERA+ and fifteen saves. [The team wasn’t very good, going 76-86] On this season alone, the edge probably goes to the Mets, but Arizona dealt Julio to the Marlins the following March for Yusmeiro Petit. He gave the Diamondbacks 200 innings over three cheap seasons (and is still pitching in the majors!), enough production to tilt the deal our way overall. Verdict: D-BACKS

August 16, 2002. The New York Mets traded Mark Little to the Arizona Diamondbacks for P.J. Bevis (minors). I guess technically this one is a win for us, as Little played 15 games here, with an OPS+ of 102, while Aussie reliever Bevis remained a minor-leaguer. However, given Little’s bWAR here remained at 0.0, and we ranked him #30 of 30 in the 2016 Alumni Game participants, I can’t really claim this one moved the needle very much, either way. Verdict: DRAW

June 2, 2000. The New York Mets traded Bill Pulsipher to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Lenny Harris. This returned Harris to New York, as he’d played with the Mets in 1998. He was good in 2000, hitting .304 for them (OPS+ 114). mostly off the bench, but terrible in 2001, with a 44 OPS+. Overall, he was replacement level during this stint in New York. In January 2002, he was part of a three-team, 11-player trade, that I’m just going to pretend didn’t happen for the purposes of evaluating this. Pulsipher never played for the D-backs, and was released at the end of the year. Per Wikipedia, his two sons: Liam Hayden and Leyton Hale were intentionally given the initials “LHP” for “left-handed pitcher”. Verdict: DRAW

July 31, 1998. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Willie Blair, Jorge Fabregas and cash to the New York Mets for Nelson Figueroa, Bernard Gilkey and cash. This one’s probably the biggest deal, and takes some unpacking.

  • Blair was worth 0.6 bWAR in 1998 for the Mets, before being dealt for Joe Randa, whom the Mets then traded for a minot-leaguer
  • Fabregas was worth -0.4 bWAR, hitting .188, and was traded to the Marlins for Oscar Henriquez, who did appear for the Mets before being released.
  • Figueroa started three games here, but sucked (7.47 ERA), then became part of the package sent to the Phillies for Curt Schilling in July 2000.
  • Gilkey is most famous for his deferred salary, which got him close to $1 million a year, up until 2017. He was below replacement level (-0.5 bWAR) during his time here.
  • Due simply to the fact they weren’t paying any of these players, seventeen years after bein released by the club - Verdict: METS

May 26, 1998. The Arizona Diamondbacks purchased Efrain Valdez from the New York Mets. Valdez pitched 4.1 innings, allowing two runs. The 0.1 bWAR seems like a reasonable return, and I can’t imagine he cost much. Verdict: DRAW

February 10, 1998. The New York Mets traded Joe Lisio (minors) to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Mike Bell. Before Arizona had even played, they made their first trade with New York. Bell never played for the Mets, and was released in October. He bounced around, including another year with the D-backs in the minors, before becoming (as ‘hacks noted) part of the front-office, ending up as vice-president of player development. Bell became the Twins’ bench coach last December. Lisio, along with Scott Brow, was dealt to the Yankees for Willie Banks (see above) in June. Verdict: DRAW

All told, few of these trades made much difference. I think, overall, the Mets probably have a slight edge, but it’s not like there are any Shelby Miller-sized mis-trades to be found. We’ll see what happens going forward...