New York Mets best free agent signings in franchise history
By Leen Amin
10) Pedro Martínez
32-23, 3.88 ERA, 464 SO, 109 ERA+, 3.69 FIP, 1.159 WHIP, 8.1 WAR
You’d expect one of the absolute greatest pitchers of all time to be higher on this list, but unfortunately, the Mets caught Pedro Martínez at the tail end of his career.
After winning the 2004 World Series with the Boston Red Sox, Martínez signed a 4-year, $53 million deal with the Mets. He wasn’t the same with New York, but did find some success.
During his time with the Mets, Martínez was a two-time All-Star and led the National League in SO/W as well as MLB in WHIP in 2005. He also recorded his 3,000th career strikeout in 2007.
Unfortunately, injuries prevented Martínez from being as successful and effective as he otherwise could’ve been. He pitched in just five games in 2007 and was injured in his first game of 2008. When he returned, his velocity was much lower and he struggled mightily in what would become the worst season of his career.
Martínez did, however, lead the Mets in innings pitched, wins, ERA, and complete game shutouts in 2005 as well as strikeouts in both 2005 and 2006.
9) Bobby Bonilla
The name “Bobby Bonilla” is somewhat of a trigger for Mets fans but, believe it or not, the man was one of the better free agent signings in franchise history. Bonilla had been a wonderful player with the Pittsburgh Pirates before heading to Flushing on a 5-year, $29 million deal.
Bonilla spent about three and a half years with the Mets before being shipped to the Baltimore Orioles in 1995 and during that time, he hit .278 with 91 home runs, 277 RBI, and a 9.7 WAR. He was also a two-time All-Star. Bonilla tied for the team lead in walks in 1992 and led the team in games and total bases and tied for the lead in doubles in 1994.
He led the team in runs and walks in 1993 and 1994 and tied for the team lead in walks in 1992. He also led the team in home runs, slugging and on base percentage, and on base plus slugging in 1992, 1993, and 1994. Bonilla also led the team in intentional walks in every year he spent in New York.
Bonilla’s numbers indicate that he did have a good tenure in New York, but his performance didn’t make him deserving of being the highest paid player in the NL. He also was famous for butting heads with members of the New York media quite often.
Younger Mets fans are more familiar with Bonilla’s second stint with the Mets in 1999, however. New York reacquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers but released him after 1999, while still owing him $5.9 million.
The two sides came to an agreement whereby the Mets would pay him $1.19 million each year from 2011 to 2035. Don’t forget to wish your favorite Mets fan a Happy Bobby Bonilla Day next July 1!