7) NY Mets Worst Trades: Mo Vaughn to the Angels
Certain trades have red flags immediately. This is one of those.
Mo Vaughn was a top slugger in the 1990s and someone many Mets fans would have welcomed with open arms—in his prime. This deal, however, would take place prior to the 2002 campaign. The signs were present before Vaughn even arrived that this wasn’t the move to make. After all, he missed all of 2001 with an injury.
Vaughn would stay mostly healthy in 2002, hitting 26 home runs, driving in 72, and hitting .259/.349/.456. It wasn’t what he had done in recent seasons with the Angels but it wasn’t horrific.
Things got worse in 2003. Vaughn played only 27 games and hit a lousy .190. He didn’t officially retire but he would never play again. The burden on the payroll included $17+ million in 2003 and 2004.
Meanwhile, the player New York traded to the Anaheim Angels (the name they were going with at the time) would produce at a high level in 2002—matching Vaughn well from a pitcher’s standpoint. Kevin Appier, the man in the deal, went 14-12 with a 3.92 ERA for the Angels. It was pretty much the equivalent to what Vaughn gave the orange and blue.
What makes the deal so bad, then? Appier won the World Series with the Angels that year.