The Mets have always had trouble with international free agents. This was made very evident by Kazuo Matsui, who signed with the team during the 2003 offseason.
Matsui had just come off several all-star seasons while playing for the Seibu Lions. He was destined to be a star if he headed west.
The Mets won the bidding rights for him and fortunately, in their second-best decision on how to deal with him, signed him for only three years.
Matsui nearly alienated promising young shortstop Jose Reyes by asking for three things the then prospect already had. The first was his lineup spot, leadoff. The second was his position on the field, shortstop. The third, was his jersey number, 7.
Matsui got two out of three and started off well by hitting a home run in his first at bat. Things went down after that. He couldn't field at shortstop, and soon after switched positions with Reyes, who had been playing second base. Later, it was found out he couldn't hit as a leadoff man, either, so he switched with Reyes again.
Unfortunately, that never helped, and Matsui floundered once again. He hit home runs in his first at bats in the 2005 and 06 seasons, but that could not help him much, as he was later traded to Colorado for Eli Marrero.
One year later, Matsui made it to the World Series with the Rockies.
As of now, Matsui is back in Japan, playing for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.