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NY Mets: An ode to Billy McKinney, our dearly-departed 39 game wonder

Jun 27, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets left fielder Billy McKinney (60) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 27, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets left fielder Billy McKinney (60) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Billy McKinney is no longer with us—the New York Mets that is. Roster constraints forced the club to DFA him recently which meant his future in the Big Apple would be coming to a close sometime soon.

The Mets did manage to flip him in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a minor league outfielder named Carlos Rincon. A Double-A outfielder with some pop, it’s definitely nice to get something back rather than let the memory of McKinney completely fade away.

McKinney joins the Dodgers in the same situation he was in as a member of the Mets: out of options and possibly ready to heat up for a short period of time.

Mets fans fell head over heels in love with Billy McKinney

There are a couple of Twitter followers over on the Rising Apple page who interact with us often. I can’t recall exactly who it was, but one person seems to be shot by a barrage of arrows from Cupid right before seeing McKinney.

Paraphrasing what this Twitter user said, he commented something along the lines of “Does the emergence of Billy McKinney make it easier for us to let Michael Conforto walk?”

There are some questions that don’t age well. This is one of them.

McKinney was never a realistic replacement for Conforto or any other outfielder. He wrapped up his time in Queens hitting .220/.304/.473 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI. A good number of his hits came before mid-June. Since moving back to a part-time role, his opportunity to get into a groove just wasn’t there.

That’s not to say McKinney simply needed to play every day to continue hitting well. There’s a reason why he has been designated for assignment multiple times in his career. He is a quality fifth outfielder but nothing much else.

This doesn’t steal away from the fact that McKinney held down the Bilco doors during the storm as soon as he arrived in New York. He was essential to the club’s success while they put together patchwork lineups in the absence of many of their starters. He was a summer romance for us all to enjoy briefly before reality set back in again.

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The next time you have a pint, kindly remember the brief love affair we all had with McKinney. Never the solution to their outfield issues, he was a temporary answer I think we all grew to appreciate.

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