5 recent Mets free agent signings that turned out better than expected

The Mets have better luck with free agents that have no expectations.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets
Miami Marlins v New York Mets / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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2. Tommy Pham

The Mets enter every season with a fourth outfielder who is expected to just provide depth and solid defense. Over the past few seasons, the Mets were always shorthanded in centerfield options since Juan Lagares became a free agent in 2019. The team tried Albert Almora, Keon Broxton, Travis Jankowski, Jake Marisnick, and Kevin Pillar in 'defensive replacement' roles. Suffice it to say, none of these options worked out as only Pillar played a full season as a Met.

The Mets found themselves in the same predicament heading into the 2023 season. The only true outfielders on their 40-man roster were Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Brandon Nimmo. The Mets also lacked outfield prospects at the upper levels after trading Jake Mangum to the Miami Marlins for Jeff Brigham and Elieser Hernandez. To address this problem, Eppler signed outfielder Tommy Pham to a one-year contract worth $6 million.

The signing of Pham felt similar to the one-year contract given to Pillar in 2021. The Mets expected Pham just to provide depth at age 35 coming off of a mediocre 2022 season with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox. However, the Mets once again had trouble finding a primary designated hitter as Daniel Vogelbach continued to struggle. As a result, Pham ended up having one of the best offensive performances in his ten-year career. In 79 games, Pham hit .268 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI. Pham's best accolade to the Mets may be the infield prospect brought back in his trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jeremy Rodriguez.