After such a poor season in 2017, New York Mets fans were hoping for brighter days ahead in 2018. This wouldn’t be the case. With Terry Collins now gone, the team had Mickey Callaway as their new skipper. It was a big change from what we had seen only a few seasons earlier.
Sandy Alderson was still the general manager but would leave mid-year due to health reasons. Before this, he had one final offseason to build the Mets into contenders while the Wilpons sat too close by with their purses only open a crack.
In five moves, the Mets brought in five free agents. Each would be a major bust.
The Mets had an offseason to forget between 2017 and 2018
You know some of these names better than others. Anthony Swarzak, Jay Bruce, Adrian Gonzalez, Todd Frazier, and Jason Vargas.
Often injured, usually underperforming, and far too busy blocking people on Twitter or challenging beat writers to fights, these were the five the front office brought in over the winter to round out the roster.
Swarzak and Bruce would only spend the 2018 season with the team—both sidelined for much of it with injuries. Neither was particularly good when they were able to take the field. Swarzak appeared in 29 games and had a 6.15 ERA. He has never been the same since his terrific 2017 season. Bruce played in 94 games and batted only .223/.310/.370 with 9 home runs.
Gonzalez might be the one from this list you remember the least. After 54 games with the Mets and a .237/.299/.373 slash line to show for it, the once prolific power hitter was released. It’s hard to think there was ever a time before Pete Alonso.
Frazier and the Mets would have an on-again, off-again relationship. Including his totals when he returned in mid-2020, Frazier was a .232/.313/.416 hitter for the Mets with 41 home runs and 131 RBI. It wasn’t what the Mets needed or expected from him. While he did have his moments in 2019, his 2018 campaign was rough to watch as he hit only .213/.303/.390 in his 115 games.
Finally, there’s Vargas. In 20 starts for the 2018 Mets, Vargas was 7-9 with a 5.77 ERA. It’s kind of unbelievable to think that he pitched better than Carlos Carrasco did in 2021 for the club. He returned in 2019 to go 6-5 with a 4.01 ERA only to be pawned off to the Philadelphia Phillies mid-year where he would help them collapse down the stretch.
There was a time when adding these five to the Mets roster might have yielded better results. In 2018, it wasn’t the year. Maybe 2014 would have been better timing.