By Barry Duchan
Editor's Note: We will publish a post from Barry Duchan every Sunday covering some aspect of Mets history. - M.S.
Ask me who the Mets traded for Keith Hernandez and I'll immediately tell you Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. Who'd they trade for Sid Fernandez? Bob Bailor and Carlos Diaz. I remember most Mets trades like they were yesterday. But when I thought about Tim Teufel, an important member of the 1986 World Champion Mets, who was even better in 1987 when he batted .300, I remembered he came from the Twins, but couldn't for the life of me recall who the Mets gave up to get him. So I looked it up.
Turns out the Mets gave up 3 young players who were still regarded as prospects- Billy Beane, Bill Latham, and Joe Klink. Beane was a former first-rounder who never panned out with the Mets, but obviously he was the key player in the deal for Minnesota, because they gave him a fair amount of playing time in 1986. He hit all of .213 with no power, pretty much sealing his fate as a failed prospect. Beane, of course, later became one of the fast rising young executives in baseball and has been firmly entrenched as the Oakland A's GM for quite awhile now. Latham and Klink were young lefthanded pitchers. Latham was probably considered the better prospect, but Klink had some success in the major leagues as a lefty specialist a few years later, while Latham had no more than a cup of coffee.
Teufel had been the Twins' regular second baseman, yet the Mets were pretty well-set with Wally Backman. The thing is that Backman was a failed switch-hitter who was terrible from the right side, so the Mets figured they would be better off with a Teufel-Backman platoon and they were right. Teufel was never a star, but had a lot of key hits for the Mets, and was one of the quiet, unsung heroes of the team. This was clearly a good deal for the Mets and a gamble for the Twins that didn't pay off. Not only did none of the prospects the Mets sent them help much, but Teufel's successor at second base, Steve Lombardozzi, never amounted to much either.
So, this was a fairly low profile deal that turned out quite nicely for the Mets.