Ricky Bottalico – His New York Mets Career 2004

Ricky BottalicoThe Mets signed right-handed reliever Ricky Bottalico, a former All-Star with the Philadelphia Phillies, as a free agent on February 4, 2004.  After starting the season in the minors with the Norfolk Tides, Bottalico made his Mets debut on May 5th against the San Francisco Giants. He pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in the Mets 8-2 victory.  He would appear in 60 games for the Mets in 2004, all out of the bullpen as a middle reliever.  He posted a 3-2 record with a 3.38 ERA in 69 1/3 innings.  He also struck out 61 batters.  His first win as a Met came on May 18 against the St Louis Cardinals, he pitched the final two innings in the Mets 5-4 victory.

Following the season Bottalico was granted free agency and he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers.

While with the Mets Bottalico wore number numbers 34 and 20.

Ricky Bottalico also played for the following teams:
Philadelphia Phillies – 1994-1998, 2001, 2002
St. Louis Cardinals – 1999
Kansas City Royals – 2000
Arizona Diamondbacks – 2003
Milwaukee Brewers – 2005

Vance Wilson – His New York Mets Career 1999-2004

Vance WilsonAfter two brief cups of coffee with the Mets in 1999 and 2000 catcher Vance Wilson was promoted to the Mets in July of 2001 and would stay with the big club for the next four seasons serving as backup to All-star Mike Piazza.   His greatest strength to the Mets was his ability to throw out base runners and he was used primarily as a late inning defensive replacement.  From 2001 to 2003 Wilson. was one of the top catchers in the league in throwing out base runners, averaging 45%.

Offensively he was no match for Mike Piazza, arguably the best hitting catcher in the history of the game, but Wilson did manage to put up some respectable numbers.  In 2003, he posted career bests with 8 home runs and 39 RBI’s. and hit a career best .274 in 2004.   

Following the 2004 season the Mets traded Vance Wilson to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for infielder Anderson Hernandez.  In 286 games with the Mets from 1999-2004 Wilson hit .254 with 17 home runs and 92 RBIs.  He also threw out 44% of would be base stealers.

While with the Mets Wilson wore number 3.

Vance Wilson also played for the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and 2006.





Cliff Floyd – His New York Mets Career 2003-2006

cliff floydPrior to the 2003 season the Mets signed Cliff Floyd as a free agent to play leftfield.   Floyd’s career was plagued by injuries and his stint with the Mets was no different.  But his upbeat personality and veteran leadership made him a fan favorite.

After a slow start to the 2003 season, he was hitting just .238 after the month of April; Floyd rebounded and was enjoying a very productive season before a right Achilles injury sidelined him in the middle of August.  He finished the season with a .290 average with 18 home runs and 68 RBIs.  His second season in 2004 was almost a carbon copy of the first except his average dropped to .260 and the injury which sidelined him was a right quadricep suffered in the first month of the season.  He still managed to once again hit 18 homeruns while driving in 63 runs.

Floyd managed to stay off the DL in 2005 and by doing so enjoyed his best season in New York.  After the first month of the season he was hitting .366 with 20 RBIs.  He would finish the season with a personal best 34 home runs to lead the team while knocking in 98 runs. He also enjoyed a 20-game hitting streak.

The injury bug once again bit Floyd in 2006 as he suffered his worst season statistically while with the Mets.  But his veteran leadership helped the Mets cruise to the National League Eastern Division Championship and their first postseason appearance since 2000.  He hit only .244 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs.

In the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers he hit a home run in game one and finished the series with a .444 average.  But he also reinjured his Achilles tendon.  After the Mets swept the Dodgers to advance to the NLCS there was talk of taking him off the postseason roster.  But sensing that he could still be a threat with the long ball he was left on the roster.  He started game one of the NLCS but the injury was too severe and he was taken out of the game after just one at bat.  He would make two more appearances as pinch hitter but went 0-3 in the series as the Mets lost to the St Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Following the season, he signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs.  In 468 games over four seasons with the Mets Floyd batted .268 with 81 home runs and 273 RBIs.

While with the Mets Floyd wore number 30.

Cliff Floyd also played for the following teams:
Montreal Expos – 1993-1996, 2002
Florida Marlins – 1997-2002
Boston Red Sox – 2002
Chicago Cubs – 2007
Tampa Bay Rays – 2008
San Diego Padres – 2009

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Tyler Yates – His New York Mets Career 2004

tyler yatesRight-handed pitcher Tyler Yates was acquired from the Oakland A’s prior to the 2002 season.  After spending two seasons in the minors he made the Mets pitching staff out of spring training in 2004. In his Major League debut on April 9 against the Montreal Expos Yates pitched six shutout innings and received a no-decision in the Mets 3-2 victory.  Ten days later he recorded his first career victory allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves.  Unfortunately, that would pretty much be the lone highlight of his season.  Yates lost his next three starts and was eventually moved to the bullpen.  At the end of June with his record at 1-4 and his ERA at 7.07 the Mets demoted Yates to the minors. 

Yates returned to New York in September and finished the season pitching exclusively out of the bullpen.  He appeared in a total of 21 games for the season and finished with a 2-4 record and 6.36 ERA.

Yates missed the entire 2005 season with a rotator cuff injury and when he was ready to pitch again he signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles.

While with the Mets Yates wore numbers 32 and 33.

Tyler Yates also played for the following teams:
Atlanta Braves – 2006,2007
Pittsburgh Pirates – 2008,2009

Todd Zeile – His New York Mets Career 2000,2001,2004

Todd ZeileOver the course of his 16-year career Todd Zeile played for 11 different teams including two stints with the Mets.   When the Mets initially signed Todd Zeile prior to the 2000 season it came as a surprise to many not because he wasn’t a solid major league player but because he was signed to play first base to replace the departed John Olerud.  The problem was that Todd Zeile was not a first baseman.  He had played sporadically at the position during his career but played mainly third base after starting his career at catcher.    Nevertheless, Zeile proved to be a steady defensive first baseman, not flashy but got the job done, while putting up solid offensive numbers.  In his first year in New York Zeile hit .268 with 22 home runs and 79 RBIs, including a 13-game hitting streak in June, and helped the Mets reach the World Series for the first time since 1986.

In the postseason Zeile had a horrendous NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, he hit just .071.  However, in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals he caught fire.  He hit .368 with a home run while driving in a team best eight runs as the Mets defeated the Cardinals in five games.  His eight RBIs were the most by a Met player in postseason series in franchise history.

He continued his hot hitting in the World Series against the Yankees.  Zeile hit .400 but only drove in 1 run as the Mets lost the series in five games. In game one Todd Zeile hit what appeared to be a two-run home run that would have given the Mets an early lead, but the ball bounced off the top of the wall, though replays showed it might have been interfered with by a fan.  Zeile was only credited with a double and base runner Timo Perez was thrown out at the plate.  Instead of being up 2-0, the game remained scoreless and the rest as they say is history.

Zeile returned for the 2001 season, but his power numbers dipped dramatically. He hit only 10 home runs while driving in 62 and led the team in strikeouts with 102 as the Mets struggled for most of the season.  Based in large part to his power deficiency the Mets decided to trade Zeile to the Colorado Rockies in the off-season along with Benny Agbayani in exchange for Alex Ochoa, Ross Glad and Craig House.

Zeile would play one season in Colorado before moving on to play for the Yankees and Expos in 2003.  The Mets than decided to give Zeile another chance and signed him as a free agent prior to the 2004 season, in what proved to be his last season as a player.  Zeile played in 137 games in 2004 but hit just .233 with 9 home runs and 33 RBIs as the Mets suffered through a terrible season.  However, Zeile did manage to reach a significant milestone in his final season by recording his 2000th career hit.  In his last game as a professional on October 3rd, the last game of the season, the Mets allowed Zeile to play one final game as a catcher.  In his last at bat of his career, he hit a three-run home run.

In three seasons with the Mets Zeile appeared in 441 games and hit .259 with 41 home runs and 176 RBIs.

While with the Mets Zeile wore number 9 in 2000 and 2001 and number 27 in 2004.

Todd Zeile also played for the following teams:
St. Louis Cardinals – 1989-1995
Chicago Cubs – 1995
Baltimore Orioles – 1996
Philadelphia Phillies – 1996
Los Angeles Dodgers – 1997,1998
Texas Rangers – 1998,1999
Florida Marlins – 1998
Colorado Rockies – 2002
New York Yankees – 2003
Montreal Expos – 2003

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Braden Looper – His New York Mets Career 2004-2005

Braden LooperThe New York Mets signed Braden Lopper to be their new closer prior to the 2004 season.  Looper was coming off a season in which he saved 28 games for the Florida Marlins and helped them win the World Series.

Braden Looper made his Met debut on opening day in 2004 pitching a scoreless 9th inning in the Mets 7-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.  From that point on he would go on to have his best season of his seven-year career converting 29 of 34 save opportunities to lead the team while posting a 2.70 ERA, though he did have a losing record at 2-5.

Looper started the 2005 season by blowing the save on Opening Day by giving up 2 home runs in the 9th inning.  It would be a sign of things to come for Looper in 2005.  Despite leading the team once again in saves with 28 he blew 8 games.  After blowing the game against the New York Yankees, in a game that would have given the Mets a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium, the fans started to turn on Looper.  With the constant barrage of boos Looper suffered through the season with a 4-7 record and 3.94 ERA

At the end of September, it was revealed that Looper was pitching most of the season with a blown AC Joint which would require surgery.  To his credit, he never used the injury as an excuse for his struggles. 

The Mets chose not to pick up Looper’s option following the 2005 season and he signed a three-year contract with the St Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals eventually transformed Looper into a starting pitcher.

His final numbers in his two seasons with the Mets were a 6-12 record with 57 saves and a 3.22 ERA.

While with the Mets Looper wore number 40.

Braden Looper also played for the following teams:
St. Louis Cardinals – 1998,2006-2008
Florida Marlins – 1999-2003
Milwaukee Brewers – 2009



Victor Zambrano – His New York Mets Career – 2004-2006

Victor zambranoVictor Zambrano’s Met career never stood a chance as he was acquired in one of the most unpopular trades in franchise history.  Zambrano, a middle of the rotation starter known for having good stuff but bad mechanics with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, was acquired at the trading deadline in 2004 along with Bartolome Fortunato in exchange for Scott Kazmir.  Kazmir was one of the Mets top pitching prospects.  But the Mets were in a pennant race, or so they thought, and needed more pitching and the Mets brass thought Zambrano would do the trick.  What didn’t help the situation was that pitching coach Rick Peterson was quoted in the papers as saying, “I can fix Zambrano in 15 minutes.”  Most Met fans were expecting a miracle by Peterson which didn’t happen.  But in fairness to Peterson his actually quote was, “I don’t know how long it will take me to fix him maybe as little as 15 minutes.”

Zambrano made his Met debut on August 5th against the Milwaukee Brewers. He won the game despite giving up 6 runs (4 earned) over 5 1/3 innings.  He would go on to win his next start as well, but his season was shut down after his next start with an arm injury and Met fans grew increasingly angry.

In 2005 Zambrano showed some signs of promise but mostly pitched mediocre and finished the season with a 7-12 record and 4.17 ERA.  Looking for a fresh start in 2006 Zambrano won his first start of the season but lost his next two starts.  Rumors began to swirl that he was suffering from arm injuries and they were confirmed in his final start as a Met on May 6th.  After pitching 1 1/3 innings he ran off the field in pain and would not return to the Mets rotation.  It was determined that he had torn his elbow tendon and that he would need Tommy John surgery.  The surgery shut him down for the season and basically ended his career.  He signed with the Blue Jays in the off-season and bounced from team to team before retiring after the 2008 season.

Zambrano appeared in 39 games for the Mets and posted a 10-14 record with a 4.42 ERA

While with the Mets Zambrano wore number 38. 

Victor Zambrano also played for the following teams:
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 2001-2004
Toronto Blue Jays – 2007
Baltimore Orioles – 2007



Vic Darensbourg – His New York Mets Career 2004

The Mets signed left-handed pitcher Vic Darensbourg as a free agent on July 15, 2004.  He initially reported to the Norfolk Tides, the Mets triple A affiliate where he went 1-1 in 18 games before being called up to New York in September.  He made his Met debut on September 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies.  He pitched one inning and allowed two hits and one run.   He would appear in five games for the Mets in September and finished with a 0-1 record and 7.94 ERA in just 5 2/3 innings.

Following the season, he signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers. 

While with the Mets Darensbourg wore number 39.

Vic Darensbourg also played for the following teams:
Florida Marlins – 1998-2002
Colorado Rockies – 2003
Montreal Expos – 2003
Chicago White Sox – 2004
Detroit Tigers – 2005




Brian Buchanan – His New York Mets Career 2004

The Mets picked up Brian Buchanan off waivers from the San Diego Padres on August 25, 2004.  He made his Met debit on August 26 and struck out pinch hitting for Pedro Feliciano.  He appeared in one more game for the Mets three days later as the Mets starting first baseman and went 0 for 2 at the plate.

The next day he was designated for assignment thus ending his brief Met career. 

While with the Mets Buchanan wore number 10.

Brian Buchanan also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 2000-2002
San Diego Padres – 2002-2004

Steve Trachsel – His New York Mets Career 2001-2006

steve-trachselSteve Trachsel was a bit of an enigma during his Mets career, at times looking untouchable and at times looking like he never picked up a ball in his life.  But overall it can be said that Trachsel’s six seasons with the Mets were fairly successful as he posted a 66 and 59 record including a 16-win season in 2003.

His Met career began in 2001 when the Mets were looking to replace 2 members of their pitching staff, Mike Hampton and Bobby Jones, who left via free agency.   One of the pitchers they chose to take a chance on was Steve Trachsel, a sub .500 pitcher known as an innings eater who had mainly played on bad teams, the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.  Prior to joining the Mets his claim to fame was being the pitcher who gave up Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run in 1998. 

Trachsel’s Met career could not have gotten off to a worst start, after giving up 10 earned runs over 5 innings in his Met debut he would go on to lose 6 of his first 8 decisions.  The lowlight coming on May 17th when he surrendered 7 runs over 2 1/3 innings including giving up 4 home runs in the third inning. 

With a 1-6 record and an ERA of 8.24 the Met fans were beyond restless and the boo birds were out in force at Shea Stadium.  Scratching their heads to determine what could be done the Met brass asked Trachsel to go down to the minors to try and work things out.  As a 7 year major league veteran Trachsel had the right to refuse the assignment but to his credit he accepted the demotion and made his way to the Norfolk Tides.  Despite losing his first start back, his three-week stint in the minors did the trick.  He went 10-7 for the remainder of the season with a 3.35 ERA in 20 starts. 

In 2002 Trachsel posted an 11 and 11 record but with a very respectable 3.37 ERA (the lowest of his Met career) for a very bad Mets team.  2003 would be his best season with the Mets; he led the team with 16 wins, the most in his career, while losing 10.  Included in his 16 wins were 2 complete game 1 hit shutouts, on June 15th and August 18th, becoming the first pitcher in franchise history to pitch 2 one-hitters in a season.  Overall his statistics were pretty much the same in 2004, though his win total dipped to 12. 

Suffering from a herniated disk in his back, Trachsel missed most the 2005 season. He did not appear in a game until August 26th.  He finished out the seasons with just 1-4 record and 4.14 ERA.

Trachsel returned to form in 2006 winning 15 games, tied for most on the team with Tom Glavine despite posting a 4.97 ERA as the Mets ran away with the National League East.  His 15th win of the season came on September 18th as the Mets clinched the division title.  But his regular season success did not carry over to the postseason.  In game 3 of the NLCS against the St Louis Cardinals, Trachsel pitched just 1 inning and allowed 5 runs.  The Mets would lose the game 5-0 and would eventually lose the series in 7 games.

The Mets chose not to resign Trachsel following the season and he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. In his 6 seasons with the Mets, Trachsel won 66 and lost 59 with a 4.09 ERA.

While with the Mets Trachsel wore number 29. 

Steve Trachsel also played for the following teams:
Chicago Cubs – 1993-1999,2007
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – 2000
Toronto Blue Jays – 2000
Baltimore Orioles – 2007,2008