Ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham has a crotchety old man character named Walter who, in response to Dunham waxing poetic about “women aging like fine wine” replied, “My wife is aging like milk!”
From time to time we’ve all played the gastrointestinal version of Russian Roulette, consuming things that we know are likely going to cause us more harm than good, yet rather than do the smart thing and cast them aside, we decide to keep giving it one more try until we wind up spending copious amounts of time alone with the porcelain throne or perhaps in the ER.
These scenarios came to mind during the post-Tejada ruminations about players the Mets have had that were toxic when they played, yet who managed to linger far past their expiration dates with the corresponding disastrous results. Only twice that I can recall during the current regime did the team prematurely bail on players who turned out to have more capability than they showed in Queens – Justin Turner and Collin McHugh. The list of players who wore out their welcome yet remained on the roster is unfortunately quite a bit longer:
Bobby Abreu – perhaps it was a favor to a former All-Star attempting a comeback or once again an attempt to catch lightning in a bottle, but it was clear that Abreu was a shell of his former self when he came up to the Mets
Rick Ankiel – this ill-fated attempt to put the converted pitcher into an everyday centerfield role had predictable results and he demonstrated why he’d been cut loose by five other teams already
Jason Bay – Enough said
Mike Baxter – no one can really say why they kept coming back to offer him at-bats. In 345 Mets ABs he delivered just 4/25/.232
Ike Davis – like many before and since, he had one outlier year that everyone hoped was sustainable. It wasn’t
Dillon Gee – For four years he was serviceable, but it was clear by 2015 he was no longer in the team’s plans. His limited play in 2015 resulted in an ugly 5.92 ERA
John Mayberry, Jr. – At least they mercifully pulled the plug on this platoon experiment after acquiring the mid-season reinforcements in Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe
Kirk Nieuwenhuis – the human fan is doing in spring training for the Brewers what he’s done throughout his major and minor league career – striking out at a prodigious rate, but displaying occasional power
Mike Pelfrey – the hand licker was regularly trotted out to start games for the Mets despite three times posting seasons with an ERA above 5.00
Omar Quintanilla – A slicker fielding version of Ruben Tejada, he couldn’t hit for power, run or hit for average (even with the PEDs he was taking). For his Mets career he was 3/28/.227
Anthony Recker – a rival in the K department to Captain Kirk, he spent his entire Mets career below the Mendoza line. In 389 ABs he did hit 15 HRs and drove in 51 but batted just .190 while striking out in 1/3 of his plate appearances
Josh Satin – a guy still in search of a position, a so-so fielder, he also showed no power and no speed, finishing his 250 AB Mets career batting .243
Alex Torres – after Jerry Blevins broke his arm, the lefty was given a longer leash and he promptly tripped over it. The 3.15 ERA looks respectable, but walks killed him as he was putting on over 1.5 baserunners per inning pitched
Andres Torres – a career journeyman who had one respectable season for the Giants, Torres came to New York and did poorly, though his 3/35/.230 season was actually an improvement over his 4/19/.221 he delivered the year prior in San Francisco
Chris Young (OF) – a more expensive lesson learned in the mold of John Mayberry, he’s revived himself across town with the Yankees posting 17/52/.257 over two seasons
Eric Young, Jr. – a one trick pony, he personified the old adage that you can’t steal first base. If you could, he might have been useful as he could definitely run. However, the rest of his game was pretty subpar both with the bat in his hands and defensively (particularly when asked to throw the ball)
Right now Eric Campbell is on the cusp of making this list as well, particularly after turning in a sub-Mendoza 2015 season, yet the Mets seem to feel he may be an answer to the roster spot left open by Ruben Tejada’s release.
Michael Cuddyer gets a pass due to injury and the fact he realized it was over and took a buyout rather than collect his full pay for underperforming this past year.
As this list seems to demonstrate, the Mets are often slow learners.