#FlashbackFriday Mets Edition: Mets trade for Piazza

On May 22nd, 1998, the Mets made a surprising acquisition when they got together with the Florida Marlins and pulled off a trade for All-Star catcher Mike Piazza. The Mets traded off outfielder Preston Wilson, pitcher Geoff Geotz, and pitcher Ed Yarnall for one of the most elite catchers in Major League Baseball history.

The Marlins had just acquired Piazza from the Dodgers, 7 days prior to the deal with the Mets. When Piazza was asked about the trades he had this to say “I have gone from a player who thought he would spend his whole career with one organization to a player who’s been with three organizations in a week.”

“I just want to be in one place for more than a week and settle down” Piazza told reporters. “I’ll be with three teams in a week. Isn’t that bizarre? It’s like rotisserie baseball”

“I’m very excited to be with the Mets and playing in New York City.”, Piazza said. I’m enthusiastic about helping the Mets get into the playoffs anyway I can”

Steve Phillips had this to say, “Certainly, we are ecstatic… He will instantly give credibility to the lineup and he will instantly give credibility to Mets fans that the organization is committed to making the playoffs and advancing toward the World Series.”

#ThrowbackThursday Mets Edition: Marlon Anderson

Originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the second round of the 1995 June Amateur Draft out of the University of Southern Alabama, Marlon Anderson ironically would make his Major League Baseball debut on September 8, 1998 against our beloved New York Mets. The middle infielder would go 1-1, hitting a two-run home run in his first MLB at-bat.

The Mets would eventually get their palms on Anderson in 2005 as the middle infielder signed a one-year pact with the boys in Orange & Blue as a veteran presence and solid left-handed bat coming off of the bench.

In 2005, Marlon Anderson, the Montgomery, Alabama native accrued 260 plate appearances, 235 at-bats in 123 games played. His slash line during his first tenure in Queens looked like .264/.316/.391/.708 while hitting nine doubles and seven home runs. The utility-man also drove in 19 runs while crossing the plate 31 times with runs scored.

A top moment during that 2005 season for the scrappy infielder would come in the form of Anderson hitting a game tying inside-the-park home run against the Anaheim Angels on June 11th. The home run would come off of would be Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Anderson would make his way to the Washington National during the following off-season before he would eventually make his way back to Flushing during the middle of the 2007 campaign after being released by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 43 games, Anderson had 69 at bats and slashed .319/.355/.551/.906 with seven doubles, three home runs while driving in 25 RBI’s during his time with the Mets in the 2007 season. However, his 2008 and 2009 seasons didn’t pan out like his previous years with the Orange & Blue.

In 2008, the veteran would make use as a utility man and accrued 138 at bats in 87 games. Anderson would slash .210/.255/.275/.530 with just 10 doubles, 1 home run and RBI’s. In 2009, Anderson saw his last days as a Major Leaguer as he had just four at bats in four games and did not collect hit. He would later get released on April 13th.

In parts of four seasons with the Mets, the utility man hit .253/.301/.377/.678 with 22 doubles and 11 home runs while driving in 54 RBI’s over the span of 446 at bats.

Anderson was widely considered one of the top pinch-hitters in his era by many writers as well as his peers amongst the diamond. His last job served as the Brooklyn Cyclones hitting coach however due to cut backs in the MiLB and COVID, it’s unclear what his role is amongst the organization.

Also read: #ThrowbackThursday Mets Edition: Daniel Murphy

OTD in Mets History: Franco heads for Houston

Born on this date:

• Bob Moorhead (1938)

• Charlie Greene (1971)

• Robert Carson (1989)

Died on this date:

• Ed Bouchee (2013)

Transactions:

New York Mets released Rich Sauveur on January 23, 1992.

Philadelphia Phillies signed Yorkis Perez of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 23, 1998.

Houston Astros signed relief pitcher John Franco of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 23, 2005.

New York Mets signed free agent relief pitcher Ricardo Rincon on January 23, 2008.

Cleveland Indians signed relief David Aardsma of the New York Mets as a free agent on January 23, 2014.

Source: MetsUnlimited.com

OTD in Mets History: Cora joins Beltrán

Born on this date: Wayne Kirby (1964)

Died on this date: Tommie Agee (2001)

Transactions:

New York Mets trade Mark Carreon and Tony Castillo to the Detroit Tigers for Paul Gibson and Randy Marshall in 1992.

New York Mets trade Yudith Ozario, Erik Hiljus, and Eric Ludwick to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bernard Gilkey in 1996.

New York Mets sign free agent infielder Alex Cora, previously of the Boston Red Sox, in 2009.

New York Mets trade Brian Stokes to the Los Angeles Angels for Gary Matthews jr. in 2010.

New York Mets sign free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes in 2016.

New York Mets sign free agent reliever Antonio Bastardo, previously of the Pittsburgh Pirates, in 2016.

#ThrowbackThursday Mets Edition: Jeremy Hefner

Newly named pitching coach Jeremy Hefner was drafted by the New York Mets on two separate occasions during the 2004 and 2005 MLB June Amateur Drafts (46th & 48th rounds), the right hander would not sign till he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 5th round of the 2006 draft.

The Perkins, Oklahoma native would eventually make his way to the Mets organization after the Pittsburgh Pirates placed Hefner on waivers prior to the 2012 season (December 12, 2011). He would make his Major League debut early on during that 2012 campaign on April 23rd against the San Francisco Giants with 3 scoreless innings.

The righty would finish 2012 going 4-7 with an ERA of 5.09 while striking out 62 batters in 93.2 innings pitched. He pitched in 26 games, exactly half of which were starts. In 2013, Hefner required his first Tommy John surgery after posting a 4.34 and a 4-8 win/loss record after pitching in 24 games and tossing 130.2 innings while striking out 99.

He managed to injure himself again and require his second Tommy John surgery in 2014 subsequently Hefner was released after that same season in early November. While he would eventually sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, he would never see Major League action again after pitching for the Mets.

Hefner finished his career going 8-15 with an ERA of 4.65 with 161 strikeouts in 224.1 innings pitched throughout 50 games, 36 of which were starts.

After hanging up the cleats and calling it quits in 2016, Hefner joined the Minnesota Twins the following season as an advance scout. Hefner held that position within the organization for two years, assisting to establish game strategies for pitchers, while also using his experience as a recently retired player to best boil down the statistical data from the team’s analytics department for the players and coaching staff. The Twins eventually made Hefner their assistant pitching coach for the 2019 campaign, and that marks his sole year of experience on a Major League coaching staff.

With the drama surrounding current New York Mets manager Carlos Beltrán, I suspect that Jeremy Hefner’s job as Pitching Coach is likely safe for at least the start of the 2020 campaign. However, it’ll be interesting to see how long of a leash he’ll get if the pitching staff gets off to a rough start.

Also Read: #ThrowbackThursday Mets Edition: Daniel Murphy