Here is a reminder from a piece I wrote in 2016, believe it or not, when people were complaining about the Mets refusing to spend money, right after they went to the 2015 World Series:
There are a number of players that the Mets have spent money on...HUGE sums of money. Some deals were good...some were not so good...and some were just awful. Let's take a look at the Mets free agent signings.
George Foster...remember him? He was the start of the big name signings. He was the guy who hit 52 home runs in a single season for the Big Red Machine of the 70's and the Mets gave him a big free agent contract. The trouble was that his power was already dwindling and Shea was never a home run hitter's paradise (except if you were Dave Kingman). He was never the power source that was expected and was literally dumped off the 1986 team when he accused Davey Johnson of racism after he was replaced in leftfield by Kevin Mitchell.
How about Vince Coleman? Better known as Vincent Van Go of the speed demon Cardinals of the 80's. The Mets decided to give Coleman a big contract to lure him away from their division rivals. It was like buying a car with bald tires. Vincent Van Go suddenly became Vincent Van Slow and after some questionable behaviors was sent packing.
Foster and Coleman were disappointments...but how about the real busts? The Mets shelled out really big money for...wait...what was his name...oh yeah...Big Mo Vaughn. Remember that guy? Huge man, Huger contract. Hardly played. He left his best days in Boston. He was hurt and never did anything to earn a dime of his contract. Want something more recent...fans are STILL reeling over Jason Bay. At least Bay did everything he could to try and earn the contract he signed. Unfortunately, he too left his best days somewhere over the Green Monster in Beantown.
Some signings weren't truly busts. Some...like Willie Randolph, Brett Butler, and Tom Glavine...were just past their primes and really at the end of their careers. At least we can say we got to see glimpses of Glavine performing like a true Hall of Famer in the making. The same can be said for Eddie Murray who did have a productive season as a Met on his way to Cooperstown enshrinement.
I wanted to avoid including him...but you just can't when it comes to this subject. Why? Because they are STILL paying this guy. Bobby Bonilla...everybody beckoned for the Mets to sign this guy. And he was a local product who had a really nice career going in Pittsburgh. But the guy with the big head got a big contract...following Barry Bonds out of The Steel City. At least Bonds became a huge hit in San Francisco. OK...he may have done some steroids to GET that huge. But Bonilla was not a huge hit with the Mets...only a huge headache. And after he was shipped out, the Mets even gave him a second chance by bringing him back for a second go round of his nonsense. Money well spent!
The front office HAS spent money...can't you see that? They even went out and got Francisco Rodriguez...K-Rod...when they needed a closer. OK...so he was also a head case and he was soon shipped out. But they paid out big money to acquire the best reliever on the market.
And when it REALLY mattered this front office opened up the coffers to sign some guy named Mike Piazza. Bet you forgot about that, huh? He was acquired by trade, but had to be signed as a free agent. And he could have gone anywhere. But the best hitting catcher of all-time, the newest Hall of Famer, was signed as a free agent by the Mets. How about Carlos Beltran? Yeah, yeah, yeah, he took a called third strike. But he was outstanding as a Met and could very well be the next Met to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Beltran was wooed by every team after his All-Star career with the Royals and post-season run with the Astros. He was courted by the Yankees. But the Mets got him. And finally, the Mets rewarded David Wright, the captain, with a nice sized contract of his own. I know, it's a shame about the injuries, especially the most recent issue with his back, but the fact is that they DID heap a huge sum of money to retain their captain.
And if you really want to take a good look at spending that went bad, just look at the 1991 and 1992 seasons. General Manager Gerry Hunsicker was allowed to go on a spending spree, bringing in the aforementioned Vince Coleman, Hubie Brooks, Willie Randolph, Eddie Murray, Bobby Bonilla, and even Dick Schofield and Bret Saberhagen. A lot of money for a lot of duds. Well, except for Murray. But the rest? Subpar seasons and a group of players that are clubhouse disasters. Three managers – Bud Harrelson, Mike Cubbage, and Jeff Torborg – and the GM could not survive that disaster.
Now back to Trevor Bauer. The man has pitched in nine seasons – one of them being the short season of 2020 – and had one good season other than 2020…ONE GOOD SEASON. In 2018, pitching for the Indians, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA. He threw 175 innings, striking out 221 and walking only 57 batters. However, over the course of the other eight seasons, Bauer was 63-57 with and ERA of 3.82 and in seven of those seasons, he had an ERA of at least 4.18.
And then there is Carlos Carrasco, acquired from the Mets as the “throw in” in the Francisco Lindor trade, a teammate of Bauer’s with the Indians. Carrasco pitched in eight full seasons for the Indians and parts of three others. His best year was in 2017 when he went 18-6 with an ERA of 3.39. In the other seven plus seasons with Cleveland, Carrasco went 70-67 with an ERA of 3.85. Think about that.
So now tell me how does Bauer’s performance history translate into $40,000,000 a season? How can anyone justify giving that kind of money to that kind of player? I don’t get it. But, as someone has said to me quite often, “Alan, you don’t HAVE to get it.”