The 4 best early Christmas free agent signing gifts the Mets have ever delivered

Some of these gifts were ones we didn't even know we wanted.

Cardinals v Mets
Cardinals v Mets / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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4) Todd Pratt

Even closer to Christmas than Dickey and Chavez, the Mets signed free agent Todd Pratt on December 23, 1996. He missed the entire previous season and his role with the Mets was never meant to be anything more than a backup catcher. He took it on gracefully, logging 39 and then 41 games in his first two years. Pratt did hit well, but the real purpose of having him was to give the starter, Todd Hundley and then Mike Piazza, a break.

Pratt found himself playing more often in 1999 with plenty of days finishing off games. He played in 71 games but stepped up to the plate only 160 times. During Piazza’s absences in 2000, Pratt stepped into the starter role and continued to produce at a high level. His 1999 season included a career-best 8 home runs and 25 RBI.

Just like Chavez would years later, Pratt had a huge playoff moment. He sent a ball over the outfield wall in the 1999 NLDS to clinch the series. A mainstay behind the plate as the club’s backup during a successful era of Mets baseball, it all began with a free agent deal signed shortly before Christmas.

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