NY Mets one year wonder: Desi Relaford
Amidst regression from many of the hitters that helped the Mets to the 2000 National League pennant, the 2001 team got a spark from an unlikely source in utility man Desi Relaford.
Picked up off waivers from the San Diego Padres, Relaford entered his sixth big-league season as a .230 career hitter, mostly in a part time role with the Philadelphia Phillies. But in his lone year with the Mets, he hit .302 with 35 extra-base hits in 301 at-bats.
Aside from a breakout performance offensively, Relaford gave the Mets defensive versatility, logging time at second base, shortstop, and third base. He also had one of the more memorable pitching cameos by a Mets position player, pitching a perfect inning with one strikeout in a blowout loss to San Diego in May.
Relaford’s year wasn’t enough to save the Mets that season, as the team slumped to 82 wins and missed the playoffs entirely. Still, he exceeded expectations and earned playing time, particularly down the stretch as the Mets made a strong late season push.
The Mets dealt Relaford along with Tsuyoshi Shinjo to San Francisco Giants that winter for pitcher Shawn Estes. Relaford never actually played for the Giants, however, going to Seattle for the 2002 season before bouncing around a bit and retiring after 2007. Ultimately, his lone season with the Mets proved to be the best statistical year of his career.