On January 11, 2003, the New York Mets inked oft-injured slugger Cliff Floyd to a four-year, $26 million deal. The Mets knew Cliff Floyd very well. They had seen him first as a “can’t miss” prospect for the Montreal Expos from 1993 to 1996, and then as a young middle-of-the-order beast for the Florida Marlins from 1997 to 2002. After posting a combined .288/.388/.533 line with 28 HR, 79 RBI, 86 R, and 15 SB in 609 PA’s (between the Florida Marlins, Montreal Expos, and Boston Red Sox) in 2002, the Mets knew they had to have him.
2003 was supposed to be a big season for the New York Mets. With the likes of Roberto Alomar, Mike Piazza, Roger Cedeno, Jeromy Burnitz, Mo Vaughn, Tom Glavine, and now Cliff Floyd, the Mets–on paper–should have been good. But that was far from the case. The team finished dead last (66-95 record) in the National League East. Floyd himself played well, but like so many times in the past, caught the injury bug. The left-handed hitter only garnered 425 PA’s, but swatted an awesome .290/.376/.518 line with 18 HR, 68 RBI, 57 R, and 3 SB.
The following season wasn’t much different. Floyd again fell prey to injury, and couldn’t help the Mets win much (71-91). The outfielder’s stats took a bit of a hit too, posting a still solid but inferior .260/.352/.462 line with 18 HR, 63 RBI, 55 R, and 11 SB in 457 PA’s. At age 31, it seemed as though Cliff Floyd had hit the wall. But then 2005 happened.
In 2005, Floyd had a clean bill of health for the first time since 2002. Steadily hitting fourth or fifth in the lineup, Floyd battered opposing pitchers to the tune of a .273/.358/.505 line with a career-high 34 HR, 98 RBI, 85 R, and 12 SB in 626 PA’s. His formerly-absent offensive punch helped the Mets propel from fourth place the previous season to third place in 2005. His healthy production landed him in the Top-26 for the MVP vote.
Even though the 33 year-old had just enjoyed one of his best career years, 2006 would be the beginning of the end–and his final season in orange and blue. Floyd struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness in 2006, posting just a .244/.324/.407 line with 11 HR, 44 RBI, 45 R, and 6 SB in 376 PA’s. Even though in prior years, the outfielder had mashed both lefties and righties, the left-handed hitter struggled against his own kind–owning a meager .179/.274/.357 clip against left-handed pitching. Ironically, the one season where Cliff Floyd truly struggled at the dish was the only season in his Mets tenure where the team actually won a significant amount of games. The Mets took the National League East behind a 97-65 record, and advanced to the National League Championship Series too. The veteran did help the Mets in the playoffs, however, smacking a .444/.500/.778 line in 10 PA’s against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Division Series (but he only collected 3 PA’s in the Championship Series).
Cliff Floyd would go on to play three more season–for the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, and San Diego Padres–but couldn’t keep healthy, and thus didn’t get much playing time (only 623 PA’s over three seasons). Floyd retired after 2009 with a career .278/.358/.482 line and 233 HR, 865 RBI, 824 R, and 148 SB in 6063 PA’s.