Though the 2004 deadline deal that brought Victor Zambrano to Flushing for the price of the young Scott Kazmir is often cited as the worst move of Jim Duquette’s brief tenure as GM, Metsblog’s Henry Lee submits the acquisition of Kris Benson for consideration.
The Mets put Justin Huber on a plane in order to sign Kris Benson to pitch in a meaningless second half. Ironically, Benson declared himself a free agent anyway and signed with the Mets in the off-season for a king’s ransom. Benson was pretty much a lock to be a Met in 2005 no matter what happened in 2004 – Anna, his wife, and Kris were both hell-bent on Manhattan all along¦
So how is Huber doing these days? Well, now that he’s been converted to being a full-time first baseman with soft hands, he’s rubbing it in our faces by hitting .329 at AA Wichita with 9 HR, 49 runs, 48 RBI and a robust .420 on-base percentage – and all of that despite a slow start. Say, how do we look at first base right now anyway?¦
The trade deadline is not the only time the Mets have made these ill-advised knee-jerk decisions. Earlier this Spring, the Mets saw Steve Trachsel go down with an injury. The panic button was once pressed by trading a cheap young catcher, Jason Phillips, to the Dodgers for an enigma, Kaz Ishii. Ishii was so bad that the Dodgers were willing to trade him away along with half his salary to whoever would get him out of their rotation – despite their need for starting pitching at the time. They were more than happy to take Jason Phillips ‘off of the Mets hands,’ only to watch him become one of the more productive catchers in the National League while making the league minimum. How nice would be to have a solid hitting catcher like Phillips to back up Mike Piazza right now?