April 5, 1972: Acquired Rusty Staub from the Expos for Ken Singleton, Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen.
Staub's bat and extraordinary starting pitching had the Mets in first place on June 16 that year. A broken bone in his hand cost Staub three months and the Mets 15 games in the standings. But the following season, Staub was a critical figure in the Mets' improbable "Ya Gotta Believe" rush to the World Series.
The worst trade the Mets ever made, period. It was made for all the wrong reasons and signaled the beginning of seven seasons of dreadful baseball.Feb. 10, 1982: Acquired George Foster from the Reds for Alex Trevino, Jim Kern and Greg Harris. Without the other cogs of the Big Red Machine around him, Foster was merely a shell of the run producer he had been in Cincinnati. By the time the Mets reached the World Series in 1986, he had been released mostly because of comments he had made. But he had already lost his job as a regular left fielder. June 15, 1983: Acquired Keith Hernandez from the Cardinals for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey.
No trade the Mets have made has been a greater benefit to the franchise. The team began to change in the second half of 1983, and by the end of 1984, the Mets were a legitimate contender. Hernandez provided savvy, energy, a Gold Glove and a bat no opponent wanted to see with a runner on second base in a tight game. The first six years of a seven-season sequence of success coincided with his Mets tour.Dec. 10, 1984: Acquired Gary Carter from the Expos for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winnigham and Floyd Youmans.
Carter's right-handed run production and catching made the Mets a team of dominating talent. Their presence in the 1986 World Series and 1988 National League Championship Series are linked directly to the influence of Carter, Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden.July 31, 1989: Acquired Frank Viola from the Twins for Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, David West, Tim Drummond and Jack Savage.
An injury to Gooden and the Mets' desperate need to return to the postseason after their disappointing loss in the '88 playoffs prompted the trade for Viola who produced a 38-32 record in 82 starts in 2 1/2 seasons with the Mets. He never pitched in the postseason with New York.Dec. 11, 1991: Acquired Bret Saberhagen and Bill Pecota from the Royals for Gregg Jefferies, Kevin McReynolds and Keith Miller.
Saberhagen had his moments with the Mets, some of them embarrassing, none in the postseason. His produced more victories (14) than walks (13) in 24 starts during the strike-shortened 1994 season.May 22, 1998: Acquired Mike Piazza from the Marlins for Preston Wilson, Geoff Goetz and Ed Yarnell. Piazza's bat made the Mets' batting order whole. With him hitting 110 home runs and driving in 348 runs in 1998-2000, the Mets twice reached the postseason and barely missed in 1998. Nov. 24, 2005: Acquired Carlos Delgado from the Marlins for Grant Psomas, Mike Jacobs and Yusmeiro Petit.
Delgado's left-handed power and strong April prompted opponents to pitch to Carlos Beltran and changed the dynamic of the Mets order. Delgado might have been the MVP of the Mets' '06 postseason -- had it continued.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.