May 22, 1998 – The Mike Piazza Trade

mike piazza

It was 16 years ago today that the Mets acquired Mike Piazza from the Florida Marlins. Oh, if we could only make the same kind of trade today !

A legitimate cleanup hitter, certainly one of the best in the game for one major-league ready prospect in Preston Wilson and two maybes in Geoff Goetz and Ed Yarnall, neither of whom ever contributed on the major league level. Of course, a long-term commitment to Piazza was an essential part of the deal.

Unfortunately, there is no one available to the Mets, probably at any price, who comes close to a player with Piazza’s hitting credentials, at age 30 or less. There’s no one like that on the market, and certainly not at catcher.

The Mets’ need for a legitimate cleanup hitter should trump any need for an upgrade at shortstop or the bullpen where Wilmer Flores and a group of young pitchers, some already on the big league roster, others down at AAA, deserve a chance, but who do the Mets have to drive in runs?

Who do the Mets have who opposing pitchers fear in a close game? There is certainly no answer and I don’t know of a single player who may be available even for a price far beyond what the Mets paid for Piazza when they included two prospects ranked in the Top 100 by Baseball America.

A few months ago, I suggested a Noah Syndergaard for Jose Bautista deal which was shot down by 100% of readers who chose to comment. I’m not saying I’d do that now, but wouldn’t the outlook for 2014 be a lot brighter if that deal was made this past winter, before committing to Chris Young and Curtis Granderson?

I don’t have the answer, but this looks like another boring lost season unless some dramatic move is made and fast. Any ideas?


About Barry Duchan 69 Articles
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, Choo Choo, 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. After retiring, I relocated with my family from Long Island to Chapel Hill, NC in 2005. I still get to watch almost all of the Mets games and writing about them on Metsmerized Online and on my new site Mets Memories.
  • depressed Mets fan

    We also had a real co owner back then too.

  • depressed Mets fan

    Also back then, the Mets came off that very surprising 88 win season in 97 and were 24-20 in 98 when they made the Piazza trade yet were still irrelevant in the world of baseball and NY. That trade forced the baseball world and NY to take notice. If Wilpon thinks some decent play will make the Mets important again and have the fans come back he is seriously mistaken. Plus back then you didn’t have the hatred and distrust for the owners that you have now.

  • Suffering Mets Fan

    The only player in today’s game that this would be similar to IMO is Tulo…

    I would package build a package around Thor / d’Arnaud and go from there.

  • dave27a

    The Mets wouldn’t have the balls to deal for player 1/3 the level of Piazza.

    Let’s remember, Fred Wilpon wanted to stick with Todd Hundley. Even then Fred had little interest in winning if it hurt his bottom line. Doubleday was always the one who “got it.”

  • Piazza Delivery

    I miss Doubleday….

  • Nmartz

    A trade involving Montero, d’Arnaud and one A+ player for Stanton should be good. This is the kind of powerful bat we need in the city field.

  • Hitmanᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ✔

    Sadly, Colorado will never trade Tulo.

  • Hitmanᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ✔

    That day will forever be very fond for me, not only because it was because we got Piazza, but because it was my first ever trip to Shea to see the Mets play the Brewers.

    Thank God for Doubleday from Wilpon & Phillips making an idiotic mistake. Why did he have to leave?

  • Suffering Mets Fan

    Probably not, there are far fewer elite hitters in today’s game, the teams that have them will need to be blown away to give them up.

  • dave27a

    Miami will contend faster than we will…and even their owner will periodically invest for a short run before another round of dismantling. Why would they consider this?

  • EzRider

    d’Arnaud may be to big a gamble nowadays.
    I’d start with Thor, Plaweki and another pitcher. This ownership group probably couldn’t sign him so that wouldn’t matter anyway.

  • dave27a

    He left because Fred insisted on an increasing role for his idiot son, who he wanted no part of. He knew where this was headed – so much so that he went quietly while Fred and Bud conspired to lower the stated value of the franchise so Fred could buy him out for 70 cents on the dollar with borrowed money.

  • Hitmanᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ✔

    Ugh. If he knew this would happen, I wish Doubleday would’ve gotten a team together to buy out Wilpon’s share.

  • peterfonda

    Wilpon was perfectly willing to wait for Todd Hundley to recover from his injuries and bank on Butch Huskey and Bernard Gilkey.

  • Hitmanᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ✔

    The Cardinals, who are well stocked at practically every spot, wanted Tulo before they settled with Peralta, and even Colorado turned them down. If STL couldn’t blow them away, what will?

  • Suffering Mets Fan

    wait for Miami to win another World Series in a few years, then we can go after Stanton…

  • SinHalo27

    This year has the feel that an in-season deal could happen- as has happened in the past: a la Piazza, Keith. Probably not Stanton but why not a deal for Goldschmidt (last place Arizona) or Joe Mauer perhaps…

  • Andrew Herbst

    I wish Doubleday was still part owner.

  • Hodges14

    I wish Doubleday was full owner.

  • cjr45

    That will not get you Stanton

  • Chris H

    How bout Syndagaard, Murphy and Montero for Stanton.

  • metsfan79

    Colon young young and tda for mike trout . Do it now

  • Andrew Herbst

    Me too.

  • sperry

    Noah for Bautista was insane then and it’s insane now on age alone. This isn’t the steroid era. He’s got 3 years of elite production left at most. Noah won’t even be in his prime yet by then.

  • MetsfanInParadise

    Why would the Angels give away the best player in the game for a basket full of retreads and one unproven prospect? Make a realistic suggestion

  • Jgreen

    Halos will give us Cowgill for that

  • john q

    That trade was great for the Marlins and big part of their 2003 WS. They traded Yarnell for Mike Lowell and they traded Preston Wilson for Juan Pierre.

    From a Mets perspective, Piazza should be seen in two parts.

    The first part is the trade which was basically a 4 1/2 month rental of a player on his walk year. The Mets had a good team and there was a chance they could make the playoffs. People tend to forget that mini collapse in ’98 as they lost their last 5 games and ended up 1 1/2 games out of the wild card. They might have won the wild card if they just benched Todd Hundley.

    That trade was great as Piazza hit .340 and slugged 23 HR in 4 1/2 months.

    The free agent back loaded contract was another thing as Piazza became one of the highest paid players in baseball.

    The contract & Piazza from 1999-2001 was good.

    Piazza in 2002-03 started decline as his defense became atrocious and he missed most of ’03 from injury and he was one of the highest paid players in baseball.

    Piazza from 2004-05 was a disaster as he defense declined more drastically as base runners ran freely on him at will and there was an ill-fatted switch to 1b. Plus he was among the highest paid players in MLB.

    In retrospect it probably would have been better to let him walk after ’98 or give him a 4-5 year contract at a higher per year dollar amount.

    The Mets should have gone zoned in on A-Rod instead.

  • john q

    Syndegaard For Bautista??? that’s ridiculous. The Mets should have just kept Buastista when they had him. He has the unusual distinction of being both on the Mets best & worst trades.

  • tacknaf

    come on man, you get three .200 hitters, that means you’re getting .600 worth of average for a .300 hitter! that’s double the value! It’s a steal for LA!

  • metsfan79

    Thats right. Its genius

  • metsfan79


  • metsfan79

    realistically id try and package montero , wheeler , and a bad contract to oakland for addison russel or the kid on the cubs. or go all in on stanton thor,wheeler flores . Idk its hard

  • metsfan79

    If we making wishes I wish I owned the mets

  • Mikeymets

    trade murph to the AL for a closer, make EY if able ur everyday 2nd baseman, trade pitching for a legit 4 hitter. that mean Neise, Wheeler, Mejia, Familia, de Groom are all available. Fire TC and hire Mazz, Teufel, Bobby V or even Wally at this point.

  • Andrew Herbst

    That’s a nice wish. I wish to have meaningful games in the second 1/2 of the same. Lol.

  • MyasDaddy

    I know where I was. I had just clocked into work. Went into the bar and on the TV was a report that Piazza was headed to the Mets. To this day, besides the birth of my child was there a more surreal feeling. I knew we had just acquired the best catcher in all of baseball with a stroke that would strike fear into many pitchers for a long time.

    Fast forward 14 years. The Mets are broke. Doubleday is gone and we all hate the Wilpons. True story.

  • Sandy Ray Smith

    We could only get Stanton for Wright plus pitchers and prospects and I’d make the trade. Time to dump Wright, he is past his peak.

  • MyasDaddy

    You think the Marlins want $120 million worth of salary the next 7 years?

  • upandadam

    CY, EYjr, Colon, Valverde, Recker, Abreu, Tejada and Neuiwenhuis for Trout! GET IT DONE SANDY!

  • Waz0787

    Sigh. My childhood hero. The reason I switched my allegiance to mets from. Yankees.

  • WGmets

    Exactly the fact sandy can’t get this deal done is a joke. Throw in Q if necessary though id rather not give him up.

  • Flatbush0460

    You took that seriously?

  • Out of place Met fan

    I would imagine any deal for Stanton would have to begin with Lagares, then mix match a few prospects…Thor & Matz, Muno…or Wheeler, Montero & Etc..

  • Metjorge

    Power is a luxury these days. I don’t know who would be willing to trade a legitimate cleanup hitter for one of our prospects. We’d probably have to give up Harvey to get an all star type hitter.

  • Wow. The good ol’ days, eh??

  • marshmallow

    I agree!

  • Skip

    Maybe TDA will turn into our next Piazza….. Just slightly drunk…sorry

  • Captain America

    Kendrys Morales 2/22 gets middle lineup bat and covers 1B this year and next

  • RyanF55

    That wouldn’t even get your to the negotiating table haha. He’s going to require Syndergaard without a doubt plus several others.

  • SD(BK)Mike

    all this talk about trading for Stanton. LOL i would LOVE it but i dont think we have the resources. If that trade ever happens it will never be a fair trade. Either we steal Stanton or we overpackage prospects..

    anyone know when Stanton’s contract is up?

  • MikeR

    I don’t think you have to have a massive bat in the line-up anymore. Look at the way the Cards keep winning, even without Pujols.