Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Curse of the Mets (Part II)

...More high profile players who didn't pan out for the Mets:

Rickey Henderson
The Mets thought they were onto something when they signed baseball's all time stolen base king before the 1999 campaign. The forty year-old speedster hit .315 in 121 games and finished among the top ten in steals. But his follow-up season was atrocious. He ended up being released in May of 2000 after hitting .219 in 31 games while looking sloppy in the outfield. The Mets went to the World Series without him that year.

Mo Vaughn
The defensively challenged Vaughn was one of the American League's most feared sluggers when he was with the Red Sox. Between 1993 and 2000, he reached the 100 RBI mark six times. In 1995, he captured MVP honors. Injured in 2001, the Mets offered him a blockbuster deal. He led the league with 18 errors and hit just .259 with 26 homers in '02. He was off to a .190 start the following year when an injury forced him out of action for good.

Jeremy Burnitz
The Mets spent more than $7 million on Burnitz in 2002 and had every reason to believe it was a good investment. Over the previous five seasons, he had established himself as one of Milwaukee's top run producers. But the lefty-swinging outfielder struggled at the plate, hitting .215 with 54 RBIs in 154 games. He bounced back the following year--just in time for the Mets to ship him off to LA. in exchange for three players. His batting average plummeted to .239 by season's end.

Roberto Alomar
Alomar was coming off his twelfth consecutive All-Star selection when the Mets added him to their roster in 2002. Though he wasn't an outright bust, he proved he was on the downside of his career by remaining conspicuously absent from NL leaderboards. He hit 70 points lower than the previous year while generating his leanest extra-base hit totals since an injury-plagued '97 season. He would never play on an All-Star team or add another Gold Glove to his sizable collection ever again.

Tom Glavine
It wasn't entirely Glavine's fault that he compiled a losing record during his first three seasons in New York. The Mets were a mediocre club and he got little run support at times. The left-handed control specialist was thirty-seven years old and on a quest for 300 wins when the Mets offered him the largest annual salary of his career in 2003. It cost the team more than $32 million to watch Glavine compile a 33-41 record with a cumulative 3.85 ERA from '03-'05. They hung onto him anyway, squeezing two more seasons out of him before sending him back to Atlanta for a curtain call. He reached the coveted 300-win mark with New York in 2007 though his earned run average was a decidedly un-Glavine-like 4.45 that year.

Kazuo Matsui
Matsui was a major star in Japan and several teams made bids for his services before he joined the Mets in 2004. His career got off to a roaring start when he homered in his first at-bat. After that, the highlights were sparse. He was injured during most of his tenure in New York, playing in just 271games over a three-year span. The Mets finally got rid of him in June of 2006.

Pedro Martinez
Things were looking up for the Mets when Martinez posted a 15-8 record with a 2.82 ERA in his 2005 New York debut. Then the injuries set in. From 2006-'08, the Hall of Fame right-hander started just 48 games and compiled a 4.73 earned run average. The Mets granted him free agency in October of 2008.

Shawn Green
It has been argued that Green was the most talented Jewish player since Sandy Koufax. At the time of his retirement, he was one of four active players with 300 homers, 1,000 RBIs and 400 doubles. Among Jewish players, only Hank Greenberg ended up with more homers and RBIs. Unfortunately for the Mets, they acquired Green at the tail end of his career. He joined the club in August of 2006 and hit .313 in the playoffs. The following year, he fouled a pitch off his foot and fractured a bone. It was slow to heal and his offense suffered. He retired before the start of the 2008 campaign.

Frankie Rodriguez
 Nicknamed "K-Rod," Rodriguez led the AL in saves three times between 2005 and 2008. In '08, he set a single season record with 62 saves, inspiring the Mets to shell out a truckload of cash to sign him. In his New York debut, he was 1-5 in save situations with a bloated 5.40 ERA. He shared closing responsibilities with several other pitchers the following year. In 2011, he was traded after getting off to a slow start.

 Johan Santana
From 2004-2007, Santana was among the most dominant pitchers in the American League, capturing two Cy Young Awards while finishing among the top ten in voting every year. In '08, he signed a seven-year contract extension with the Mets that made him the highest paid pitcher in history. He had a great first season in New York, compiling a 16-7 record with a 2.53 ERA. After that, injuries began to take their toll. He was out for long stretches in 2009 and 2010. The following year, he ended up being shelved for the entire season with shoulder issues. The Mets hoped for a return to form in 2012, but Santana finished at 6-9 with an ERA of 4.85. It was his last season in the majors.

Jason Bay
Originally property of the Pirates, Bay captured Rookie of the Year honors in 2004 then proceeded to drive-in more than 100 runs in four of the next five seasons. The Mets picked him up in 2010, hoping he could expand upon the monster offensive season he had with the Red Sox the previous year. Sidelined with injuries, he did nothing of the sort. During his three-year tenure in New York, he missed a total of 198 games while accruing a feeble .234 batting average. He was released in November of 2012.

Curtis Granderson
Granderson led the league in triples for two consecutive seasons while playing for the Tigers. After joining the Yankees in 2010, he began swinging for the fences. Though he clubbed 40 homers in back-to-back campaigns in the Bronx, the strikeouts began piling up at an alarming rate. Injured through most of the 2013 slate, the Mets signed him to a four-year deal worth $60 million. That investment has yet to pay off. In 2014, Granderson hit .227 with 66 RBIs in 155 games. At the beginning of 2015, he managed just 1 hit in his first 7 games. 

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