It’s that time of year once again. Time to open presents and fake being exceptionally pleased by the gesture of a loved one, even if the gift is below expectations. It’s supposedly the thought that counts. This time of year, I am reminded of the many acquisitions our beloved New York Mets have given to us. There are some good, though I can’t recall any at this particular time, but I am sure they exist. However, for every good move the Mets have made in the month of December, they have made an equally unimpressive amount of bad ones. Among these horrid transactions are the true heart of what it means to be a Mets fan. These moves remind us that while we are supposed to be appreciative of the gesture, the gift in and of itself is purely underwhelming. Therefore, with that in mind, here is a list of the ten worst moves the Mets have made in franchise history in the month of December.
10. Kaz Matsui- December 10, 2003, the Mets signed Kazuo Matsui to the richest deal for a Japanese born position player at the time. They shelled out more than $20 Million for the next three and a half years to pay for Matsui’s .256 Mets career AVG. He was traded to the Rockies a few years later.
9. Tom Glavine– December 5, 2002, the Mets signed long-time rival Tom Glavine to a multi-year deal. While he may have been an All-Star in Atlanta, he was far from clutch in Queens. In five years with the Mets, he had a 3.97 ERA and a 61-56 record. He did make the All-Star team twice in orange and blue, but mpst fans will remember him for his last game with the team when he gave up all those runs on the last day of the season to help the Mets blow a division lead and get bounced from the playoffs.
8. Jason Bay– Not that long ago, December 29, 2009, in fact, the Mets signed Jason Bay. They overpaid in a bidding war with themselves and were burned royally for it. While with the team, Bay was a clubhouse favorite, but far from a fan favorite. He constantly hustled and received multiple injuries for his efforts. As a Met, he posted 26 home runs, 124 RBI and a .234 AVG in his three seasons in Queens. When they signed him, he had just 36 Home runs and 119 RBI in Boston. That was just one season. A huge drop off and a even bigger disappointment.
7. Mike Scott for Danny Heep– Most Mets fans remember the name Mike Scott and think of the pitcher that nearly ended the 1986 Mets title hopes in Houston. The fact is, he was a Mets pitcher before that. They drafted him in 1976 and he played for them for 4 years where he was unsuccessful to the tune of a 4.64 ERA. He was traded to the Astros on December 10, 1982 for a bench player who played a minor role in that title run of 1986. The fact that it seems like a good trade because they acquired someone who helped them win is not the issue. The fact that they traded someone who basically owned them during their run of dominance is the true issue. This is essentially the reason a team should never trade inside their own division or their own league.
6. Vince Coleman– On December 5, 1990, the Mets signed former St Louis Cardinal great Vince Coelman. They were hoping he would do for them in the 90s what he did to them in the 80s. He stole 99 bases in his three years in Queens, but he will be remember for far more than fireworks on the field. His antics off the field and in the clubhouse were what really spelled his demise.
5. Mickey Lolich for Rusty Staub– On December 12, 1975, the Mets traded icon Rusty Staub and Bill Laxton for Mickey Lolich and Billy Baldwin. While Lolich did post a 3.22 ERA in 192 innings pitched during the 1976 season, trading the only reason to watch the Mets in the mid 70’s for such a small return was a huge mistake. It’s the equivalent of trading R.A. Dickey for a bullpen pitcher.
4. Mo Vaughn– On December 27, 2001, the Mets traded Kevin Appier to the Angels for Mo Vaughn. While it seemed like the best move at the time, it turned out to be a disaster. Another former Red Sox player with massive numbers in Boston, Vaughn underachieved in Queens. He hit just 29 home runs and 87 RBI in his two years there.
3. Roberto Alomar– Before he went into the Hall of Fame, he was a New York Met. Roberto Alomar was trade to the Mets on December 11, 2001 with Mike Bacsik for Alex Escobar, Billy Traber, Matt Lawton and a couple other prospects. The deal turned out to be a major bust for the Mets, so much so, that they traded him just a year and a half later. During that time in New York, he hit only .265 and had 22 stolen bases to go with his 107 runs scored.
2. Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi– Considered the most dominant pitcher of all time, Nolan Ryan was drafted by the Mets in 1965. He played a small role in the 1969 championship. The Mets were looking for star power, and on December 10, 1971, they traded him with a handful of prospects for Jim Fregosi. Fregosi ended up hitting .232 with five home runs the following year. Ryan went on to become the legend he is today.
1. Bobby Bonilla– The worst deal the Mets have ever given to the fans is without a doubt the signing and re-acquiring of Bobby Bonilla. Why? Because they are still paying for that mistake to this day and will for the next several years. Bonilla was a stud in Pittsburgh and the Mets were looking to balance out their lineup to become contenders. On December 2, 1991, the Mets inked him to a long-term deal. In five combined season (after trading him in 1995 and trading for him in 1998) he hit 95 home runs, 295 RBI and a .270 AVG.
The Mets decided to cut ties with him after he and others on the team were creating rifts in the clubhouse. In order to do so, they agreed to a deal where they would defer the remainder of his contract and pay it with interest at a later time. That later time became now and for the next 25 years the team will pay him more than $1 Million a season for not being a good player in Queens. That may be a great present for Bonilla, but it is by far the worst one for fans. It’s just another reason the Mets can’t spend in the current market.
When you have to put on your fake ecstatic face during this season, remember the gifts the Mets have given us and it should become second nature.
Happy holidays fans.