NY Mets: A year of former Yankees passing through Flushing
By Tim Boyle
What if I told you there were five members of the 2021 New York Mets who at one point played for the New York Yankees? You might be able to guess a few of the names. So we’re clear, Robinson Cano does not count.
Geographical rivals in baseball, the Mets and Yankees have shared plenty of players over the years. Amazingly, this year, just about all of those who suited up for the Mets with a Yankees past didn’t stay for long. The two ex-Mets players that appeared in the home team dugout in the Bronx were also moved on from quicker than anticipated.
With the two clubs playing each other this weekend, I thought it would be worth looking at these guys.
2021 is a year of former Yankees making brief pit stops with the Mets and vice versa
I think I went to the mall the one game Dellin Betances did pitch for the Mets this year. The results weren’t enough to really call it good or bad. What we can say is that it’s an incredibly disappointing ending. Betances only delivered 12.2 innings for the Mets in two seasons with the club. The four-time Yankees All-Star was more of a shell of himself than ever during his forgettable time in Flushing. An injury would ultimately lead to his demise this year and erase any chance at every pitching for the Mets again.
Going the other way, a guy Mets fans knew for several seasons, Jay Bruce didn’t have quite as much fun with the Yankees this year. In 10 games and 39 trips to the plate, he hit .118/.231/.235. Bruce decided to hang up his cleats and retire with 319 career home runs—46 of which he hit with the Mets and 1 added in 2021 with the Yankees.
There aren’t many nice things to say about the former Yankees that suited up for the Mets this year. Brandon Drury is an exception. One of the most productive members off the bench for the team when he was with them, Drury hit .274/.307/.476 in 88 Mets plate appearances. His time with the Yankees was much more irrelevant which could be a reason why many forget he even called the Bronx his baseball home at one point. Still with the organization, Drury was an enjoyable player to watch for the brief number of moments we got to see him.
Did anyone have a worse stint with the Mets than Cameron Maybin? The former Yankee and future former Met played in 9 games for the team when they were desperate for outfield help. Maybin picked up just a single hit in 33 trips to the plate for a batting average of .036. Is there any shot the Mets can get their dollar back from the Chicago Cubs? Maybin would actually clear waivers and has been with the organization in Triple-A for several months.
The answer to “what do the Mets do now that Maybin is a zero at the plate?” was this guy. Shortly after the Maybin trade, the Mets went out and added Billy McKinney. Even if his .220/.304/.473 slash line doesn’t jump out as memorable, he did hit 5 home runs and drive in 14 runs. For a very brief period, McKinney was helping the Mets stay afloat in the National League East. It’s hard to believe at one point he was the guy they would turn to for offense. Barely ever a Yankee with only 2 games played for them in 2018, it’s easy to like him without having the taste of pinstripes. McKinney’s time with the club ended after a waiver claim by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mason Williams lit up Triple-A pitchers but didn’t have the same kind of luck in the big leagues. In 37 plate appearances, none of which I really remember, the journeyman outfielder slashed .212/.297/.333 for the orange and blue. Williams was originally drafted by and debut with the Yankees. He ended up getting released by the Mets but re-signed a day later. Unfortunately, he hasn’t gotten back to the show after his short-lived trip.
Over in the other borough, ex-Mets reliever Justin Wilson, who went 6-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 2019-2020, ended up with the other New York team this offseason. However, a 7.50 ERA in 18 innings made him a trade casualty. Wilson ended up getting dealt to the Cincinnati Reds midseason where he found some success on the mound yet nothing close to what he was able to produce with the Amazins.
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Shared blood between the Mets and Yankees is regular each year. This season, there wasn’t too much excellence on either side.