Trade Details

Date: July 30, 2004

New York Mets acquire

  • Right-handed pitcher Bartolome Fortunato
  • Right-hander pitcher Victor Zambrano

Tampa Bay Devil Rays acquire

  • Right-handed pitcher Jose Diaz
  • Left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir

Initial Reaction

Even at the time, this seemed to be a very short-sighted move by the Mets. Kazmir was their top-rated pitching prospect, and the team's poor performance throughout the month of July had made them an extreme long shot for a postseason spot. Fortunato and Zambrano were acquired to make a desperate push because Kazmir wasn't yet considered "major league ready."

LHP Scott Kazmir

The Devil Rays evidently felt differently about the lefty's development. Within a month of the trade, Kazmir was called up to join their starting rotation. He emerged as a premier strikeout artist and performed at an All-Star level in 2008, when they went all the way to the World Series.

RHP Victor Zambrano

What were the Mets realistically expecting from Zambrano? He had been leading the American League in walks during his time with Tampa Bay, and was about to turn 29 years old (at which point pitchers generally don't improve). The right-hander appeared in parts of three seasons for the Mets, totaling only 10 wins.

Trade's Legacy

After several productive campaigns, Kazmir's career went off track during the 2009 season. It took him until 2013 to re-establish himself as a reliable starter, at which point the Rays had moved on. This will still be remembered as an extremely ill-advised and lopsided exchange.
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