There are far too many former New York Mets players who go on to have outstanding careers in other cities. Do I have to name them all? You’ve cried about each at least a dozen times already.
A guy we don’t talk about much is Rick Aguilera. Maybe because the Mets traded him away for the reigning American League Cy Young winner, Frank Viola, we don’t really think of Aguilera as one of those special players that blossomed elsewhere.
Whatever the reason is for Aguilera getting overlooked in these thoughts, I thought it was worth examining his post-Mets playing days.
Rick Aguilera had a different career after leaving the Mets
Aguilera wrapped up his time with the Mets in mid-1989 with 114 games pitched. Among them, 59 were starts. He had a 3.58 ERA which actually came to represent his career ERA of 3.57 quite well. This is a little odd considering how different Aguilera’s career went.
During his years in New York, Aguilera worked as a starter and reliever. He was exclusively a reliever in 1989 when he was traded to the Minnesota Twins. Following the trade, the Twins moved him into the rotation. He finished the season by making 11 starts and posting a 3.21 ERA in them.
Aguilera’s time as a starter was short-lived. He moved back to the bullpen in 1990. Hoping to get the most they could from him, Aguilera was inserted in as the team’s closer. His career completely changed. He saved 40+ games in 1991 and 1992. In both of those season and 1993, he was selected to the All-Star team.
In addition to his regular season success, Aguilera added a second World Series ring to his collection. The Twins won the 1991 World Series with a lot of help from Aguilera. He saved three games in the ALCS and another two in the World Series. The ex-Mets pitcher was the loser in Game 3 but the winner in Game 6.
Aguilera did start a few more games in 1996 with poor results. His best days as a starter were well in the past.
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A key member of the 1986 Mets and a few of those other squads in the golden age of the franchise, he sometimes gets overshadowed in two ways. Aguilera was a productive starter and reliever for the team lost behind some all-time greats in the rotation and bullpen.