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New York Mets All-Time Lists

New York Mets top five most underrated players in franchise history

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Bob Ojeda #19 of the 1986 New York Mets greets fans on the red carpet before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: Bob Ojeda #19 of the 1986 New York Mets greets fans on the red carpet before the game between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field on May 28, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.The New York Mets are honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1986 championship season. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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7 Sep 1999: Rick Reed #35 of the New York Mets pitches the ball during the game against the San Francisco Giants at Shea Stadium in New York, New York. The Giants defeated the Mets 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport

4) Rick Reed

Following the disappointing yet promising 1996 season, a slew of moves were made by the Mets management to become a more established and veteran ball club that could contend and actually finish above .500 for the upcoming year. With the offense seemingly formidable again, the Mets management focused more on building a quality rotation to complement their offensive potential.

Not much was expected of Rick Reed when the Mets invited him to Spring Training to compete for a starting pitcher position in 1997. In fact, he wasn’t much of a thought to do anything on the mound going into the season.

Coming into the Mets camp in 1997, Reed was a 31-year-old journeyman who had spent much of eight previous seasons bouncing around Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Texas putting up less than stellar numbers as a starter.

What Reed was most known for coming into Spring Training with the Mets was being a  replacement or “scab” player during the beginning of the 1995 strike year. It was during this period the Major League Baseball owners and the Players Union still could not come up with a new deal and it forced the owners to go with replacement players for the first three weeks of the 1995 regular season.

Reed agreed to be a replacement player for the Cincinnati Reds back in 1995 and was scheduled to be their opening day starter as a replacement if the strike continued. This, as you can imagine, did not sit well with his fellow major league players holding out during the strike.

After the strike was settled late in April of 1995, Reed was publicly criticized by the Players Union and by many of his professional teammates for what he did. Despite the criticism, Reed was given an opportunity to continue pitching for Cincinnati as a starter but struggled and was eventually sent down to Triple-A for the majority of 1995.

As a Met battling to earn a spot with the major league team during spring training in 1997, Reed continued to impress the Mets pitching coaches with his ability to get outs in high leverage situations and throw strikes when he needed to.

Mets manager Bobby Valentine was familiar with Reed’s capabilities, as Valentine was the Mets Triple-A manager just the year before when Reed was honing his skills in Norfolk, Virginia with the farm system. He ended up giving Reed a spot in the starting rotation which Reed took full advantage of.

Reed’s six-year run with the Mets as a starter was one of the most successful and impressive of any the Mets had since the late 1980s. Three times Reed pitched over 200 innings in a season and he was named to the NL All-Star team twice in that span.

In 1997, he went 13-9 and finished sixth in National League with a 2.89 ERA. He continued to show how to accurately pinpoint his pitches could be, especially in 1998, when he won a career-high 16 games with the Mets and struck out 153 batters while only walking 29 during that regular season.

Reed, along with Al Leiter and Bobby Jones, was also instrumental in anchoring the Mets rotation in 1999 and 2000 when the Mets made back-to-back deep postseason appearances. He made five postseason starts in the divisional, league championship and World Series for the Mets in that two-year period, going 1-1 with a 3.84 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 7 walks. Four of those five post season starts were highly effective and were a minimum of 6 innings pitched.

Reed finished his Mets career with a .620 overall winning percentage, second in Mets history only to Dwight Gooden at the time.

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