10 best relief pitchers in New York Mets history

Thomas Yorke
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Two
Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Two / Elsa/GettyImages
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6) Best relief pitcher in Mets franchise history - Armando Benitez  

Armando Benitez came to the Mets in a trade with Baltimore in 1999. Initially serving as a set up man, he became the closer due to an injury to John Franco and held that role for the better part of five seasons. He ranks second behind John Franco on the Mets all-time saves list at 160. Benitez helped the Mets to the World Series in 2000. He won the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year in 2001 and his 43 saves that year stood as the Mets single season record for the next 15 years. He also represented the Mets at the 2003 All Star game.

Armand Benitez is perhaps known more for what he didn’t accomplish. He failed to protect a one run lead in the eighth inning against Arizona in game 4 of the 1999 NLDS. He let a three run lead slip away in Game 2 of the 2000 NLDS against San Francisco and couldn’t protect the lead in Game 1 of the 2000 World Series. He unfortunately gained a reputation for not being a big game or postseason pitcher.

Benitez had 289 saves in a 15 year career spent almost exclusively as a closer, placing him at number 32 on the all-time MLB list.

5) Best relief pitcher in Mets franchise history - Billy Wagner           

Billy Wagner signed a four year contract with the Mets as a free agent in 2006. He had an immediate impact with 40 saves while striking out 94 batters in 72.1 innings. This helped the team advance all the way to game seven of the NLCS.

Wagner had continued success with 34 saves in 2007 and 27 saves in 2008. But in 2008, he tore a ligament in his elbow requiring major surgery. He would miss the latter part of that season and almost all of 2009. With the Mets unable to find a replacement from within, they went out and signed Francisco Rodriquez to be their new closer while Billy Wagner was traded to Boston.

Billy Wagner only spent parts of four seasons with the Mets, but those seasons included 101 saves, two All-Star game appearances and one trip to the postseason. His 422 career saves places him sixth on the all-time MLB list.

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