Still Kickin' Around: How Former New York Mets Players Are Doing in 2012
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Players come and players go; that is the nature of baseball. For many fans, however, when a player leaves their favorite team—in this case, the New York Mets—that player is gone forever. He may still be active, yes, but they lose interest in him.
Well today, in 2012, lots of former Mets are still kicking around—from Endy Chavez to Oliver Perez to Jeff Keppinger. Some have forged pretty good careers since leaving the team, while others have fizzled.
Let's take a look at how some of those players are doing today.
Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Mets fans may remember outfielder Endy Chavez for his decent bat, his fantastic speed or perhaps his stellar catch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2006 National League Championship Series. He was a pretty nice player to have back in the day...
...But alas, it appears his glory days are behind him. With the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, Chavez is hitting only .190 with a .222 on-base percentage. He has only four walks to 21 strikeouts with only eight RBI to boot.
Years with Mets: 2006-2008
Stats with Mets: 337 G, 223 H, 23 SB, .288 BA
Stats since leaving Mets: 65 G, 50 H, 12 SB, .265 BA
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Ryota Igarashi, the much-ballyhooed Japanese import who spent a couple seasons with the Mets, has pitched three big-league games in 2012—two for the Toronto Blue Jays and one for the other New York team—with little success.
In two innings of work he has allowed six hits and four walks en route to five earned runs and a 22.50 ERA.
Hey, at least he is averaging 18 strikeouts per nine innings, as well.
Years with Mets: 2010-2011
Stats with Mets: 5-2 W-L, 79 G, 5.74 ERA
Stats since leaving Mets: 0-0 W-L, 3 G, 22.50 ERA
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When catcher Ronny Paulino arrived with the Mets in 2011, he was supposed to provide solid power while backing up starting backstop Josh Thole. Though his bat wasn't completely anemic, the power was lacking and so the Mets said "see ya later" after only one season.
He too is a Baltimore Oriole these days and continues to post unimpressive power numbers: In 20 games, he has hit .254 with no home runs and five RBI, for a less-than-stellar .302 slugging percentage.
Years with Mets: 2011
Stats with Mets: 78 G, 2 HR, 19 RBI, .268 BA
Stats since leaving Mets: 20 G, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .254 BA
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Infielder Jeff Keppinger was one the Mets may have wanted to hold onto. After a brief stay with the team in 2004, the scrappy ballplayer has traveled throughout the big leagues, performing successfully wherever he's gone.
He wound up with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. In 63 games with his new team, he has hit .322 with a .385 on-base percentage and more walks than strikeouts. Not bad.
Years with Mets: 2004
Stats with Mets: 33 G, 3 HR, 9 RBI, .284 BA
Stats since leaving Mets: 616 G, 33 HR, 227 RBI, .284 BA
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Infielder Omar Quintanilla is a former Met, but he's only been former for the past few weeks. He began the 2012 season with the team, but was sent to the Baltimore Orioles for future considerations partway through the campaign.
In 13 games with his new team, he has performed extremely well: He has 14 hits in 38 at-bats for a stellar .368 batting average. He's even slugging .526!
Years with Mets: 2012
Stats with Mets: 29 G, 13 R, 18 H, .257 BA
Stats since leaving Mets: 13 G, 4 R, 14 H, .368 BA
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It appears the Orioles have a thing for hoarding former Mets players. Relief pitcher Luis Ayala, who the team acquired in 2008 to help strengthen a struggling bullpen, is also playing his home games at Camden Yards—and with considerable success, too.
In 43 appearances, he has a solid 2.73 ERA with only 10 walks in 52.2 innings of work. He has even finished 13 games and earned a save.
Years with Mets: 2008
Stats with Mets: 19 G, 1-2 W-L, 5.50 ERA
Stats since leaving Mets: 133 G, 5-10 W-L, 3.27 ERA
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After a year without pitching, Darren Oliver joined the Mets and returned to the mound in 2006 a changed man. Formerly a mediocre starting pitcher with a 5.07 career ERA, the then-35-year-old became a relief pitcher—a role he has dominated in.
The 41-year-old is now with the Toronto Blue Jays. In 43 appearances this season, he is 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA, with nearly one strikeout per inning.
Years with Mets: 2006
Stats with Mets: 45 G, 4-1 W-L, 3.44 ERA
Stats since leaving Mets: 346 G, 23-12 W-L, 2.69 ERA
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In 2010, pitcher Hisanori Takahashi was one of the few bright spots for the New York Mets. The 35-year-old Japanese import could do it all—he appeared in 41 games as a reliever and 12 as a starter. He closed out eight matches and averaged nearly one strikeout per inning.
Alas, the Mets couldn't keep him around and so he joined the Los Angeles Angels, with whom he is still pitching today. This year, he is 0-3 with a 4.95 ERA in 35 relief appearances. He is still K-ing batters at an impressive clip, with 32 strikeouts in 36.1 innings of work.
Years with Mets: 2010
Stats with Mets: 10-6 W-L, 53 G, 3.61 ERA
Stats since leaving Mets: 4-6 W-L, 96 G, 3.97 ERA
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Most Mets fans know the story—Jason Isringhausen came up with the Mets in 1995 as part of the famed "Generation K," with fellow blue-chip pitching prospects Paul Wilson and Bill Pulsipher. They were all supposed to do well and lead the Mets to victory for years to come. None did.
Isringhausen first pitched for the Mets in the mid-1990s, but returned to the team in 2011 on a minor league contract. He worked out of the bullpen with some success, even serving as their closer for a spell.
Following the season he joined the Los Angeles Angels, teaming up with fellow former Mets reliever Hisanori Takahashi. In 38 appearances in 2012, he is 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA.
Years with Mets: 1995-1997, 1999, 2011
Stats with Mets: 21-24 W-L, 113 G, 4.59 ERA
Stats since leaving Mets*: 3-1 W-L, 38 G, 2.97 ERA
*The second time
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Let's cap this off with Oliver Perez, another in the long line of Mets "future stars" with the ability to win many games for the team season after season.
Mets fans know that is not quite how Perez's career turned out—after a solid 2007 season in which he went 15-10, the left-hander flopped terribly, averaging only four wins over the next three seasons.
He did not play in the big leagues in 2011, but returned in 2012 in what appears to be something of a career renaissance—in 17 games with the Seattle Mariners, he is 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 14.2 innings of work.
It's a small sample size, but is it possible that the inconsistent twirler has turned his career around?
Years with Mets: 2006-2010
Stats with Mets: 29-29 W-L, 101 G, 4.71 ERA
Stats since leaving Mets: 1-2 W-L, 17 G, 2.45 ERA