The 6 Most Embarrassing Mets Ever
The New York Mets have been both a breeding ground and a safe haven for some of baseball's most disappointing and embarrassing players over the last few decades.
More than any other team, the Mets have shown the propensity to extend ridiculous contracts to undeserving players, take on players who nobody else is going after or just make downright ridiculous baseball decisions.
It isn't just bad contracts that create an aura of embarrassment around a professional baseball player, but it's rather a collection of other characteristics such as poor chemistry with teammates and overall appearance.
It would be easy to name dozens of the Mets' most embarrassing players, but we've trimmed the list down to six for those who aren't interested in reading an endless list of futility.
Here are six of the most embarrassing players in Mets history.
(All stats are per BaseballReference.com)
Mo Vaughn was acquired from the then-Anaheim Angeles for starting pitcher Kevin Appier prior to the 2002 season.
Nobody wishes this hadn't have happened more than former New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips, who was run out of town following a rash of poor decisions with the Vaughn trade being the icing on the cake.
Phillips should have seen this coming. The former MVP had struggled with his weight for much of his career, and he was just coming off an injury that caused him to miss the entire 2001 season.
After playing just 27 games in 2003, the 35-year-old Vaughn retired in January 2004 due to arthritis in his left knee.
The Angels obviously knew that Vaughn wasn't worth keeping, but Phillips didn't. That is why you can no longer find him in the general manager's box in Flushing Meadows.
Long before Jason Bay and Oliver Perez, there was Vince Coleman.
It was with the acquisition of Coleman that the New York Mets began their pathetic trend of signing players in the prime of their careers then watching those players slowly deteriorate in the friendly confines of Shea Stadium/Citi Field.
A front-office member would have looked foolish to argue against the Mets signing Coleman to a four-year, $11.95 million contract after he had stolen 549 bases and scored 566 runs in six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, but they would have been correct.
Coleman was 29 years old when he played his first game with the Mets. He was supposed to have three or four great years ahead of him, but that couldn't have been less true.
Injuries plagued the speedster during his three seasons with the team, as he played in just 271 of a possible 486 games (much like Jason Bay).
He was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Kevin McReynolds following the Mets brutal 1993 season in which they only won 59 games.
There is no way to exclude Jason Bay from a list titled "The 6 Most Embarrassing Mets Ever," as he is not only that, but one of the most embarrassing baseball players on the planet right now.
When then-general manager Omar Minaya signed Bay to a four-year deal worth $66 million, Mets fans expected the outfielder to perform on par with his 2004-2009 numbers that saw him hit .280 with 30 homers and 99 RBI on average per year.
Bay couldn't come close to any of those.
In fact, over the course of three seasons with the Mets, Bay hit just 26 home runs and drove in 124 runs while compiling a putrid .234 batting average. His failures can be chalked up to his inability to stay on the field (Bay missed 198 out of 486 games), but he looked completely lost at the plate from Opening Day 2010.
The former Pittsburgh Pirate was a black hole in the Mets order whenever he was healthy enough to stay in the lineup. Luckily, Mets fans won't have to see him pound another grounder into the dirt down the third-base line or swing through another fastball on the outside corner.
Prior to the dreadful Jason Bay signing, Omar Minaya made a mark on the New York Mets by trading for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez prior to the July 31 trade deadline in 2006.
Perez pitched poorly during the regular season when given a chance on the mound, but he left Mets fans with a great feeling about him following his six innings of one-run ball in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
He went 25-17 in 2007 and 2008, posting a 3.91 ERA and a 8.5 K/9 ratio over the course of 371 innings. Perez was admittedly above-average in 2007, but the front office should have been able to see a problem with his lack of control (he led the league in walks in 2008) and his head-case tendencies on the bump.
Minaya saw this mediocre body of work and thought it would be a great idea to sign the erratic 27-year-old lefty to a three-year deal worth $36 million.
Perez received his inflated contract and saw it as an opportunity to go 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA while making just 21 starts in two seasons before being released under the Sandy Alderson regime.
Just over a year after their crosstown rivals brought in one of the best Japanese players of all time, the New York Mets signed the other Matsui—Kazuo—from the Seibu Lions of the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
Matsui averaged 29 homers a year for the Lions from 2000 to 2003, but he was able to muster just 11 in two-plus seasons in Flushing Meadows. Despite the lack of power Matsui showed in the United States, he hit homers in his first at-bats in his three Opening Day games with the Mets—one of the only bright spots in his Mets career.
In rather unsurprising fashion, a free-agent signing by the Yankees worked out exponentially better than a free-agent signing by the Mets, something that further stoked the little-brother complex that Mets fans harbor.
All of the things he excelled at in Japan were his shortcomings in the United States. His speed fell off the map—and fast. His defense, which was expected to be his strongest point, was below-average, and injuries, which had never been a problem for him in the NPB, led to his departure from Queens.
Matsui posted numbers in Japan that would have been worthy of the three-year, $20 million contract that he received from the Mets, but he was far from an MLB-caliber infielder.
The New York Mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla and will be for the next quarter-century!
As detailed in Mark Winegardner's ESPN article, the Wilpon's and Bonilla's agent Dennis Gilbert worked out a deal in which the organization would pay Bonilla 25 installments of $1,193,248.20 to fulfill the $49 million contract that he was afforded in his first stint with the team.
At the time, nobody believed that the ludicrous deal would look as bad as it does in 2012.
After averaging a .287 batting average, 23 home runs, nearly 100 RBI and 37 doubles over his first five full seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, his production tailed off in New York.
He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles midway through the 1995 season, but he would eventually return to the Mets to haunt the fanbase some more.
Following various reported disagreements with manager Bobby Valentine, Bonilla and teammate Ricky Henderson were seen playing cards in the clubhouse while the rest of the team suffered a crushing, season-ending 11-inning loss to the Atlanta Braves in the 1999 NLCS (via Sports Illustrated).
The Mets are still paying Bobby Bonilla.