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Mets: Sandy Alderson’s final free agent class performing well a year later

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Jay Bruce #19 and Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets react between innings against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citi Field on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Phillies 10-5. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Jay Bruce #19 and Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets react between innings against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citi Field on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Phillies 10-5. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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In his final year as New York Mets General Manager, Sandy Alderson gave us a weak class of underperformers. A year later, the results are a lot better.

In Sandy Alderson’s final offseason as the general manager of the New York Mets, he made five major league signings. He brought back ex-Mets Jay Bruce and Jose Reyes. He also introduced us to Todd Frazier, Anthony Swarzak, and Jason Vargas.

These five names made us ill plenty in 2018. However, a year too late, all five are having pretty good years sans Reyes whose career is probably over.

Out of the other four, two remain with the Mets. Though the unforgiving fans aren’t ready to endear Frazier yet, even we have to admit he’s producing much better than we expected. His batting average and OBP are several points above his career totals. All he’s missing is power for us to claim he is doing exactly what we should predict. Until recently, it seemed Frazier would never find his home run stroke again. He already has three dingers in June and has been the team’s best player at producing runs.

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Frazier has been far from the automatic out he was in 2018. He’s picking up hits now and on a better team, would look like a decent bench piece or part-time player. Unfortunately, he’s still playing often. If he keeps hitting like he has in recent weeks, there’s no reason to sit him.

Much harder to deny is how amazing Jason Vargas has been. Other than Jacob deGrom, you could argue he has been the team’s best starter. He owns the second-best ERA (behind only deGrom) and despite his limitations, has tossed a shutout.

Vargas isn’t about to win a Cy Young or anything. However, if he had given the Mets this type of performance in 2018, he would have been one of the league’s best fifth starters.

Venturing away from Citi Field, we find Bruce with his second team of 2019, the Philadelphia Phillies. He was recently traded to the City of Brotherly Love in what has become an annual Seattle Mariners fire sale.

Prior to the trade, Bruce was hitting for a low average but smashing home runs. Well, in his short time with the Phillies, he’s tearing baseballs apart and hitting them a long way. He’s among the MLB leaders in home runs. Bruce is doing exactly what Alderson signed him to do only a little too late and in the wrong city.

Finally, there’s Swarzak. Just like Bruce, he has already been traded to a contender in the National League East. Currently with the Atlanta Braves, he’s putting together a fine start to his career down in Georgia.

After 7.2 innings, Swarzak owns a 1.17 ERA. He is still walking batters at an alarming rate, but also fanning a lot, too. After the 6.15 ERA he gave the Mets in limited time due to injury in 2018, it’s frustrating to see him figure things out somewhere else.

Next. Time to remove Dominic Smith from the trade block?

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I understand there’s plenty of baseball left to play and any of these guys could fall off the face of the earth. None will play in this year’s All-Star Game or win any major awards. Acknowledging this, it’s still rather amazing to see how four of our least favorite Mets from the 2018 roster seem to have finally put it together at the same time.

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