The New York Mets traded for Mo Vaughn didn’t work out as the Amazins hoped it would.
After the 2001 season, the New York Mets were looking to add power to the roster. Former MVP Mo Vaughn was made available via trade and the club made a move to acquire him. It was certainly a questionable decision at the time. Vaughn was preparing to play his age 34 season and had missed all of 2001 due to injuries.
Despite all of this, the Mets believed the big guy had something left in the tank. They were proven somewhat correct in 2002 when Vaughn hit 26 home runs in 139 games played.
It wasn’t peak Vaughn. The home run total was actually his fewest since 1992 when he hit just 13 in 113 games played. Nevertheless, it looked like the deal was far from a bust.
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Unfortunately, this was pretty much the end of Vaughn’s career. He had only 96 plate appearances the following year and hit a .190 in those opportunities.
Like many stars in the twilight of their careers, Vaughn was on a decline with no chance of climbing back out of it.
Meanwhile, there was another half of this trade to look at. The way the Mets landed Vaughn in the first place was to give up starting pitcher Kevin Appier. Appier is one of those Mets players who only spent a single season with the team. It was a decent campaign, too, ending with an 11-10 record and 3.57 ERA across 33 starts and 200+ innings of work.
Appier was also headed into his age 34 season in 2002 when he joined the Los Angeles Angels. For them, he made 32 starts and finished with a 14-12 record. His 3.92 ERA was good at the time and helped get them to the postseason where they would eventually go on to win the World Series.
Although Appier had a miserable World Series that resulted in an 11.37 ERA in a pair of starts, there’s no denying he had some importance to the Angels in the regular season. Still, this trade Vaughn for Appier swap wasn’t exactly a shining success for either organization.
Just as Vaughn missed time in his second year with the Mets, Appier was sidelined plenty for the Angels. He also wasn’t particularly productive when he was healthy. In 19 starts during the 2003 season, he went 7-7 with a 5.63 ERA.
This was the end of Appier’s career with the Angels. He did make six more starts for his original team, the Kansas City Royals. Those starts were spread out with four in 2003 and another two in 2004. Unfortunately for Appier, the end had already arrived. He combined for a 13.50 ERA in his two starts during the 2004 campaign, thus ending his career on a down note.
The Vaughn for Appier trade isn’t one I think about often because of how short-lived the careers were for both of those men following the trade. Other than one monstrous home run at Shea Stadium estimated at 505 feet, Vaughn didn’t really have much of an impact in the Big Apple.
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Vaughn seemed to be a finishing piece meant more for a DH role at that stage of his career. Unfortunately, the Mets didn’t have that position for him and needed a lot more help than just his once-powerful bat.