May 20, 2015

Remembering Mets History: (1998) Mets Acquire Mike Piazza Fom the Florida Marlins

The ground work on this massive Mets deal, was laid a week earlier when the Los Angeles Dodgers traded Mike Piazza & Todd Ziele to the Florida Marlins for Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson & Jim Eisenreich.

It is considered one of the worst deals in Dodger history. It all ahppened as the end result of contract disputes with L.A. & Piazza as he was becoming a free agent at the end of the season.

The Marlins had won the World Series the year before and wanted to cut salary, they dropped over 22 million on this trade alone. They had a big league fire sale, dumping all their big players. 

In getting Piazza, it would give them a big chip to trade for more top prospects. The New York Mets had just aquired Al Leiter after the 1997 Marlin Championship season, for pitching prospect; A.J. Burnett. At this point both teams GMs were on good terms, making good in leading up to the Piazza deal.

Todd Hundley was the Mets catcher at the time and he was down with a long term injury. Alberto Castillo was the back up catcher and he wasn't going to be an every day big leaguer. The Mets under Bobby Valentine were changing direction & moving forward. Piazza would give them the catcher they needed, and one of the best hitters in the league.

On May 22, 1998 the new broke in New York to the delight of Mets fans; The Mets had got Mike Piazza in exchange for Preston Wilson, Ed Yarnell, & Geof Getz.

The rest is Mets history. Piazza went on to become one of the best players in franchise history. After a slow start in 1998, he became a New York icon, that season bringing them within one game of the playoffs. The next two years he led them to two playoff berths, and an NL pennant, going to the World Series. He came close to winning an MVP Award, made seven All Star appearances, set many offensive records becoming the face of the franchise. He set a record for most HRs by a catcher in a Mets uniform and is one day destined for Cooperstown joining Tom Seaver as Mets immortals.

Preston Wilson did well for Florida, he hit over 23 HRs in all four seasons he played there, driving in over 100 RBIs once and never hitting above .280.

He was gone by 2003, when they won their next World Series. Yarnell was a top AAA pitcher at the time of the trade but soon faded & Goetz never made the big leagues.

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