2) Armando Benitez
The Mets were looking for a huge, intimidating presence on the mound, actually, as a set-up man for veteran John Franco, and acquired Benitez in a three-way trade from the Baltimore Orioles prior to the 1999 season.
Benitez had some problems during his time with the Orioles. He had begun to build a reputation as a strong arm out of the bullpen, but he also began to build a rep as a head hunter. In fact, after hitting the Yankees Tino Martinez for a second time, not only did his teammates not defend him, but his manager actually issued a formal apology.
Once he got to the Mets, Benitez began to flourish. He had the best five years of his career as a member of the Mets winning 18 games and saving 160 and pitching to an ERA of 2.70. He struck out 456 batters in 346 innings, around 12 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.
Mets fans loved the big guy blowing people away. Guys who post a lot of K’s in the K Korner tend to do that. He was so good that he actually pushed John Franco, Mets captain and fan favorite, to the set-up role.
Well…everyone THOUGHT he was so good. Until he began to blow saves…and lose games…big games…important games. He somehow became…unreliable. Yes…unreliable. Like when he showed up late to a 1999 playoff game and, when he was summoned into the game, blew it. And he blew two important games in the 2000 post season as well.
Benitez would save a lot more games for the Mets over the next three seasons. But nothing he did, no matter how many games he would save, would save him from the wrath of Mets fans. He was subjected to a lot of booing and he was finally, mercifully, sent to the Yankees during the 2003 season.