Mets Monday Morning GM: 3 of the best one-and-done players gone before the one is done

The Mets managed to sign three of the franchise's best one-and-done players in team history this offseason.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Washington Nationals v New York Mets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Who is the best one-and-done New York Mets player in team history? Mike Hampton always comes to mind. His 2000 teammate acquired alongside him in the trade with the Houston Astros, Derek Bell, is right up there, too. We even have to include Javier Baez who, despite being remembered best for giving the fans a negative review, played amazingly well in his short stint with the ball club.

Somehow, the Mets managed to find three new players to fit this category in the offseason. Relief pitcher David Robertson and outfielder Tommy Pham signed one-year deals to come to New York with many still holding their breath for a reunion with at least the former. Justin Verlander, the one we had no idea would be gone after only a few starts, came here as well. His contract was going to at least carry him into the 2024 season. It was safe to buy a JV Mets jersey that would at least last you a little while.

All three are gone already. And if we were to assemble a team of the best Mets who spent only a year in Flushing, each would have a spot on the roster.

Past Mets one-and-done players similar to this year's

While it’s obvious to make comparisons between Hampton and Verlander, it’s at least a slightly deeper dive to find the guys who Pham and Robertson match. Hampton and Verlander were both legitimate aces brought over from Houston—Hampton via trade and Verlander in free agency. They left through different means. At least we got to see Hampton dazzle us in the postseason including his NLCS clincher.

For the Pham comparison, we go back ten years. Marlon Byrd may be the ultimate surprise one-and-done player in Mets history. He came to the club on a minor league deal for the 2013 campaign. He would end up swatting 21 home runs in 117 games for the team while slashing .285/.330/.518. He became the ultimate trade deadline piece to move. The Mets were going nowhere. He ended up in a trade alongside John Buck to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dilson Herrera and Vic Black. Herrera would later get used as the centerpiece of the 2016 trade deadline deal for Jay Bruce.

Byrd is similar to Pham in terms of expectations fans had. Pham’s performance on the field earned him accolades from the peanut gallery the same way Byrd powered his way into relevancy.

Plenty of relievers were with the Mets short-term but two more recent examples came in another one of the more successful years of this franchise. The 2006 Mets roster had Chad Bradford on it for just a single season. He was 4-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 70 appearances. Lefty Darren Oliver, a former starter turned reliever, resurrected his career entirely with the Mets in 2006. He pitched in 45 games as a reliever but did it while accumulating 81 innings of work. At 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA, he had a much different year than Robertson albeit an effective one.

Robertson’s months-long run with the Mets surpasses what those two did as individuals. He was already well on his way to having one of the best years of any Mets relief pitcher. Robertson departed New York with a 2.05 ERA and 14 saves. It’s impressive for a pitcher who wasn’t even supposed to be the closer.

The successful one-year player is rare to find and yet this year’s ball club had three of them. None even made it through a full season mostly because those longer-tenured players failed to meet expectations.