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Trades from the Past - Bob Ojeda

Barry DuchanSunday, May 18, 2008
By Barry Duchan


Continuing this series of posts on the best trades the Mets ever made, if Bernard Gilkey was the only hitter to have a career year after being traded to the Mets, then Bob Ojeda was clearly the first, last, and only pitcher to similarly have a career year after coming to Flushing.

Ojeda had been a decent, if unspectacular starting pitcher for the Red Sox for a few seasons. The Mets had been impressed with the work another former Boston lefty, John Tudor, had done with the Cardinals and were seeking a similar pitcher, so they inquired about Ojeda. Coming off a 1985 season in which he was 9-11 with a 4.00 ERA, Ojeda was definitely obtainable, but the Sox were still able to attract what seemed like a pretty hefty price from the Mets.

Bob Ojeda Calvin Schiraldi was among the Mets' best young pitching prospects, Wes Gardner looked like the Mets' best young reliever and John Christensen and Laschelle Tarver were AAA outfielders who looked ready to contribute on the big league level. The Mets sent all 4 to Boston for Ojeda, a pretty good minor league pitcher named John Mitchell, and a couple of other minor leaguers, Chris Bayer, and Tom McCarthy. At the time of the deal, few fans expected Ojeda to be anything more than a fourth or fifth starter and it looked like the Mets were overpaying in prospects for a mediocre pitcher.

But Ojeda had a tremendous year for the World Champion Mets in 1986, going 18-5, 2.57 and placing fourth in the Cy Young balloting. An off-season freak injury made 1987 a lost year for Ojeda, and after that, he was just so-so for the Mets, but his big year in 1986 made this trade one of the best ever for the Mets.

Although the Mets have dealt for one-time aces throughout their history from Warren Spahn and Dean Chance to Frank Viola and Bret Saberhagen, it was the Ojeda deal that brought them their very best starting pitching acquisition. Whether Oliver Perez or John Maine ultimately prove to be better long-term is as yet unknown, but Ojeda will remain the only established pitcher to have a career year right after the Mets acquired him.

Note: More of Barry Duchan's writings can be found on his own Metscentric blog.

About Barry Duchan: I've been following the Mets since 1962. Have to admit I was a Yankee fan as a kid, but I found it to be so much more interesting to see how a young team could build itself up rather than following a team where the season didn't really begin until October. I remember them all - Casey, Marv, ChooChoo, Don Bosch, The Stork, etc. As the years went on, I became more and more of a Mets fan, and a Yankee hater once Steinbrenner and Billy Martin entered the picture.   Read More -->

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Comments (3)

I would argue that Mark Clark had a career year after coming over from Cleveland, which was especially good because the rest of the team was terrible.

Are you forgetting George Stone going 12-3 in 1973 and helping the Mets reach the World Series? I think going 12-3 for an 82-win team is at least close if not equal to going 18-5 for a 108-win team.

Those are two very good ones. I guess I got carried away with Ojeda's 18 wins and 4th place Cy Young finish. I totally forgot about Mark Clark (even when I did my entry on Mets-Indians trades), but I should have remembered Stone because I wrote about him in my piece on Felix Millan. Thanks to beelzebot and mark for pointing those out. This is why I appreciate Mike's carrying my posts, because knowledgeable Mets fans not only read them, but respond to them.

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