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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Ex-Mets Everywhere All At Once

As we dim the lights and illuminate our memories, we ask you to direct your attention to the video board for a very special presentation as we unspool our annual montage saluting the Mets who have left us — in the baseball sense — since last Spring.


Prospective Third Baseman
Pending Physical

Your team’s owner goes out and secures who he’s secured — let’s continue to pencil in Carlos Correa until notified something’s really wrong with his leg or his negotiations — to go with keeping who he’s kept and you owe it to yourself to look forward to Spring Training. You can’t buy a pennant, but you can certainly shop aggressively for one.
—December 27, 2022
(Reportedly signed with Mets, 12/21/2022; reportedly signed with Twins, 1/10/2023)


August 15, 2022 – September 10, 2022

A glimpse at the in-progress box score while fast-forwarding past commercials revealed a plot twist I hadn’t seen coming in Atlanta. Not the tally itself, now 13-1, but the participants. There was a catcher making his Met debut, Michael Perez. There was a shortstop making his Met debut, Deven Marrero. And, not altogether unpredictably yet still good for a WHA???, there was a pitcher making his Met debut, Darin Ruf. I missed the three up and three down Ruf recorded in the bottom of the seventh, which means I also missed the first instance of Perez (catching ball one) and Marrero (picking up a grounder en route to the second out) etching themselves into the annals as Mets No. 1,171 and 1,172, respectively. Ruf was already inscribed as Met No. 1,170 from his standard-issue hitting duties, but now he was the fifteenth position player in Mets history to pitch, marking the eighteenth instance in all of a Met position player toeing the rubber. Better Call Saul got paused.
—August 16, 2022
(Free agent, 10/9/2022; currently unsigned)


Relief Pitcher
September 7, 2022 – September 14, 2022

By the time he handed matters over to a cobweb-gathering Adam Ottavino and the fresh, violent left arm of Alex Claudio, the old wives’ tale of the Mets never scoring for Jake had gone upstairs to bed, at least for another five or six days. The Mets notched 17 hits, six of them doubles, none of them homers.
—September 8, 2022
(Free agent, 10/9/2022; signed with Brewers, 1/3/2023)


June 30, 2021 – May 25, 2022

You couldn’t do much worse for Met pitching in any year than what the Mets got Wednesday from Peterson, Reid-Foley and, sad to say, Szapucki. Thomas neither pitched particularly well nor fielded his position with aplomb. The first Brave to score on the rookie’s watch came home when a potential rundown imploded because Szapucki didn’t think to pursue the dead-to-rights Dansby Swanson between third and home. That runner was inherited from Reid-Foley. The rest that scored between the time Szapucki escaped the fourth down, 11-2, and before succeeding pitcher Albert Almora, Jr. (you read that right) surrendered a three-run bomb to Ozzie Albies, which was posted to Thomas’s ledger. Luis Rojas had hoped to ride his spanking new southpaw clear to the end of the horror show. As a minor league starter, Szapucki was positioned to give the Mets length. But in the ninth, it was fair to infer he was feeling kinda seasick as the crowd called out for more.
—July 1, 2021
(Traded to Giants, 8/2/2022)


May 17, 2021 – May 24, 2021

Did ya see how the bottom of the ninth between the Mets and Marlins began on Saturday? Jesus Aguilar lined a ball into the gap between center and right. It would take two kinds of Tommie Agee efforts to reel it in: the kind where Agee dove to rob Paul Blair and the kind where Agee hung on in his webbing to rob Elrod Hendricks. Those were two of the most stupendous catches in World Series history. Amid stakes admittedly a few hundred notches lower, Johneshwy Fargas incorporated the most breathtaking aspects of each to nab from Aguilar a leadoff double and, as Smith did minutes earlier, keep the score knotted at one. Running and diving and gaining proximity to the ball would have been impressive as hell. The ball ticking off the top of Johneshwy’s glove would have been reluctantly understandable. But, nope, Fargas was gonna have his scoop and lick it, too. As so-called ice cream cone catches go, this one melted in your mouth and made your eyes water with joy.
—May 22, 2021
(Released by Mets, 8/14/2022; currently unsigned)


August 20, 2022 – August 25, 2022

It gets instinctively edgy in South Philadelphia when the ninth inning rolls around. The most elite of relievers wasn’t about to simply shoo away the dephlated Phillies. You could take all the precautions — gloveman Sanchez was in for Baty as the 183rd third baseman in Mets history — but you couldn’t avoid trouble. You just had to contain it.
—August 22, 2022
(Free agent, 10/11/2022; signed with Braves, 1/24/2023)


Relief Pitcher
August 16, 2022

Not R.A. Dickey and not Francisco Alvarez and not Robert Gsellman, though he kind of looked like him.
—January 29, 2023
(Free agent, 10/9/2022; currently unsigned)


June 28, 2022 – July 13, 2022

As if Met defense could use the help — we’ll never turn down assistance — the club signed Ender Inciarte to a minor league contract. Inciarte now has a chance to become the Willie Harris of his day. Willie Harris, you’ll recall, took extra-base hits of all variety away from Met batters in the 2000s. Then he became a Met in 2011, not having the same impact for the Mets that he had against the Mets, but he was a pleasant enough veteran presence for a non-contending team. Inciarte used to rob us blind in the 2010s. Here’s Ender’s chance to make it up to us.
—June 20, 2022
(Free agent, 7/18/2022; currently unsigned)


Relief Pitcher
May 23, 2021 – September 13, 2021

Lugo sat for good after his one inning. Luis Rojas via Dave Jauss went to Yennsy Diaz to start the tenth of a 1-1 must-win game versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, with a runner automatically on second because that’s how Rob Manfred likes it. This Diaz hasn’t pitched enough in tight situations to make us nervous. This Diaz not having pitched all that much in tight situations is what made us nervous. No offense, Yennsy, but we know Seth Lugo. He’s not infallible, but we carry forth images of Six-Out Seth Lugo having gotten us through second innings with aplomb. We only knew in the tenth that Diaz wasn’t Lugo, and that it wouldn’t take much to score the Manfred on second. It didn’t.
—August 15, 2021
(Released, 08/08/2022; signed with Sultanes de Monterrey (Mexican League), 2/20/2023)

Relief Pitcher
August 20, 2022

Saturday brought three Met debuts […] with Clay joining R.J. Alvarez as a recent escapee from Met ghost status.
—August 21, 2022
(Free agent, 11/10/2022; signed with Diamondbacks, 12/12/2022)


May 27, 2016 – October 1, 2017
April 16, 2022

While we were deprived from December until March of major baseball doings, the Mets slipped minor league contracts to good old Matt Reynolds, the infielder who showed up to watch the 2015 postseason, then fill in quite a bit in 2016 and 2017 […] We love us some Recidivist Mets (the thus far 53 who’ve come, gone and come back, from Frank Lary in 1965 to Wilfredo Tovar last year), even if love, almost invariably, is less sweet the second time around.
—March 17, 2022
(Selected off waivers by Reds, 4/24/2022)


May 5, 2021 – May 23, 2021

Jordan Yamamoto (who seems like a really nice guy) had a rough second inning, featuring a couple of misplays he had a hand in, and five runs crossed the plate against him. He also has a sore shoulder. All of the above is enough to make a pitcher at least the No. 4 starter on the New York Mets this week. The Marlins let him go.
—May 23, 2021
(Free agent, 11/10/2022; signed with Dodgers, 1/24/2023)


Relief Pitcher
August 20, 2022

Zastryzny avoid[ed] ectoplasm as a 27th man, which may or may not be easier than navigating the heart of the Phillie order.
—August 21, 2022
(Selected off waivers by Angels, 8/25/2022)


June 2, 2021 – July 22, 2022

So many Smiths on this team. But only one Travis Blankenhorn, your roster replacement for Francisco Lindor. Batting in the top of the fourth for Smith — Drew — with two on, Travis, who’d almost hit one out on Saturday night, removed all doubt and hit one more than out on Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t just over the fence. It departed the entire PNC Park physical plant and flew into the Allegheny River. The breach of the initial barrier ensured a three-run homer, the first round-tripper of Blankenhorn’s career. Launching it so far that it departed dry land, well, that was just darn impressive. Most impressive was the Mets now trailed by two. Not six, not five, but two. If the Mets came back to win this game, which even Joe Namath wouldn’t have guaranteed, we’d have an anecdote to reference for the many times in our future when things would appear hopeless.
—July 19, 2022
(Free agent, 11/10/2022; signed with Nationals, 12/14/2022)


Relief Pitcher
May 15, 2022 – July 16, 2022

The only Met pitcher who escaped with a zero where it counted was the only Met pitcher we didn’t know would be in our sights when Sunday dawned. Colin Holderman, who planted himself on the organizational radar with a nifty Spring Training, replaced Tylor Megill on the roster when it was announced Megill was dealing with some right biceps inflammation, which is one of those maladies a fan repeats calmly while thinking, “WHAT?” […] Holderman held ’em in the top of the ninth.
—May 16, 2022
(Traded to Pirates, 7/22/2022)


Second Baseman
March 28, 2019 – April 29, 2022

Robinson Cano may yet escape the conversation he’s been assigned to since it became apparent the rest of the National League East wasn’t prioritizing the coming and getting of us. Because he has (deep breath) another four years on his contract, we don’t know for sure that Robbie is necessarily the stuff of Foy, Fregosi and the others who populate our cabal of eternal regret. On the other hand, he’s definitely, within the Mets Media Guide Page 394 context, of a caliber equal to Carter and Strawberry, Reyes and Beltran, Cespedes twice and Nieuwenhuis inexplicably. Y’know, Joe Foy once went 5-for-5 as a Met, driving in five runs and homering twice — the second time in the tenth inning — to beat the Giants at Candlestick Park. It doesn’t come up often when Foy’s name stirs in Met lore, but it did happen, just like that night Robinson Cano socked three home runs to crush the Padres.
—July 24, 2019
(Free agent, 5/8/2022; signed with Padres, 5/13/2022)


April 7, 2022 – July 27, 2022

Travis Jankowski took over for Canha at first and took off when Jeff McNeil laced a pitch down the right-field line. Jankowski flew around second and steamed into the neighborhood of third, the precinct of the so far famously aggressive Joey Cora. Cora held him — which made me gasp in dismay, though the replay showed that to have been a good decision.
—April 26, 2022
(Free agent, 11/10/2022; signed with Rangers, 1/27/2023)


Relief Pitcher
August 21, 2022

If Fisher is returned to a farm club Upstate soon, it will be for roster crunch reasons only. We’ve seen how callup relievers who get used to what is considered excess are sent down the next day in favor of a fresher arm. Fisher was indeed used to an extent beyond what was probably projected. He pitched the fifth. He pitched the sixth before it was delayed by rain. He pitched the sixth after play resumed. He pitched the seventh. Nate Fisher not only ate innings and recorded outs, he permitted no runs in his major league debut. Oh, and he was out of baseball and working in the financial services industry not too long ago. (Shades of Todd Pratt managing a Domino’s between backup catching gigs.) Fortunately, the Mets made a wise Fisher investment when they signed the lefty in the offseason.
—August 22, 2022
(Free agent, 11/10/2022; signed with White Sox, 11/15/2022)


Relief Pitcher
July 27, 2020 – September 27, 2020
April 10, 2022 – July 2, 2022

Carrasco gave way to Chasen Shreve, whose general effectiveness this season surely had a YA GOTTA BE SHREVE t-shirt on some clever entrepreneur’s drawing board. The garments went on backorder once Julio Rodriguez went deep (torpedoing the A-CHASEN METS iteration as well).
—May 16, 2022
(Released, 7/8/2022; signed with Yankees, 8/27/2022)


July 30, 2022 – October 5, 2022

Tyler Naquin is the first Met since Craig Paquette to have “qu” in the middle of his last name, the fourth overall. Jose Oquendo and Al Pedrique were the others. Tyler Naquin is better off with this nugget as his calling card rather than any of his statistics from down the stretch.
—December 29, 2022
(Free agent, 11/6/2022; signed with Brewers, 2/21/2023)


Relief Pitcher
April 27, 2022 – August 6, 2022

Yoan Lopez came up and in on Nolan Arenado in the eighth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s almost incidental Mets loss to the Cardinals. Like what Shawn Estes threw in the greater geographic vicinity of Roger Clemens’s backside twenty years ago, Lopez’s pitch didn’t touch the batter he was facing. Unlike with Estes, Lopez’s pitch did what it was supposed to. It transmitted a message. We’ll see if anybody receives it.
—April 28, 2022
(Sold to Yomiuri Giants, 12/20/2022)


Relief Pitcher
August 15, 2021 – July 7, 2022

We were halfway home after the lidlifter, a 3-1 success that felt in peril intermittently but never fell away. Trevor Williams upended my recently stated lack of faith by giving the Mets four shutout innings. Jake Reed walked a tightrope in the fifth, but somehow maintained a zero-laden toegrip. The Mets’ three runs, gathered in the second and third, held up. Nolan Arenado, villain from the Battle of Busch, was booed a lot. Yadier Molina was booed by me. I attempted to give him a “nice career, guy” round of applause as his retirement finally looms, but I still can’t stand him for 2006.
—May 18, 2022
(Selected off waivers by Dodgers, 7/13/2022)


Relief Pitcher
September 2, 2020 – October 2, 2021

The bullpen always gets involved. When the bullpen gets involved, we get a little unhinged. Maybe more than a little. The bullpen is why 8-4 wasn’t fully convincing. Mind you, none among Miguel Castro in the seventh (3 hits, 1 run); Trevor May in the eighth (2 hits, no runs) and Jeurys Famila in the ninth (2 hits, 1 walk, 2 runs if only 1 earned) actually let the game slip into genuine danger. Perceptual danger, perhaps, which is enough agita for us at present. You can’t blame our collective psyche for sensing trauma when there’s barely trouble. Castro was a well being gone to two straight games — was it one game too many?
—April 7, 2021
(Traded to Yankees, 4/2/2022)


September 1, 2022 – October 8, 2022

The Mets led, 5-3. They tried to add to it in the home eighth by pinch-hitting Vogelbach, who walked, then pinch-running latest Met and professional speedster Terrance Gore, who stole. Vogelbach and Gore could constitute a two-headed monster in this month of expanded rosters, though to size them up, they might be better described as Vogelbach-Plus.
—September 1, 2022
(Free agent, 11/10/2022; currently unsigned)


May 5, 2021 – July 31, 2022

[T]he bench was down to Mazeika and pitchers. Were he certifiably healthy, I would’ve opted for pinch-hitter Jacob deGrom. Mazeika had never had a major league hit, but he’d only made one major league out before. You never know if Patrick Mazeika can drive home a decisive run until you let him try. Luis let him try. Mazeika had himself a fierce AB. A couple of balls. A couple of foul balls. He would not go quietly. On the fifth pitch he saw from Crichton, he did one of the better things he could do. He put it in play and not directly at anybody. It went about, oh, maybe twenty feet, but Crichton’s attempt to field and throw it was about as successful as Lindor’s when McNeil got in Lindor’s way. The pitcher’s scoop to his catcher was off-target and Alonso, who isn’t much of a runner, scampered home. Pete’s a swell scamperer. For a moment, it was pure shirt-ripping joy at Citi Field. It was Patrick Mazeika, who was promoted twice last season, only to be sent back down without as much as a Hietpas helping of action, bare-chested and jubilant. He was an alternate site All-Star, a taxi squad sitter, an almost chimeric figure in hipsterish glasses and substantial beard. Now he was a walkoff RBI hero, same as Cabrera in 2016 in the heat of the last successful Met playoff push (“OUTTA HERE! OUTTA HERE!”); same as Shane Spencer in 2004 (who beat the Yankees on a similarly slight base hit); same as Esix Snead in 2002 (who also chose a game-ending swing — a homer — to record his first major league run batted in); same as Todd Pratt in the clinching game of the 1999 NLDS (the backup catcher protagonist the last time the Mets beat the Diamondbacks in ten innings at home).
—May 8, 2021
(Selected off waivers by Giants, 8/21/2022)


Relief Pitcher
April 23, 2022 – September 3, 2022

Now Adonis had to deal with a runner ninety feet from tying things again, with the daunting task of Trea Turner awaiting him. Seriously, how do the Dodgers ever lose? This way: Nido’s mitt makes contact with Turner’s bat, resulting in catchers’ interference, which Dave Roberts argues for when it’s not immediately called. It peskily places the potential winning run on first, but also takes the bat out of Trea’s hands, which is the one place the Mets didn’t want to see it anyway. Turner takes off for second. Nobody minds that Nido doesn’t throw through. The task at hand is getting out Smith, he who homered to begin the eighth. Is it only the tenth? It feels like this game and this series have both been going on for a week or more. Maybe it’s the time difference. Medina didn’t check his watch. He listened for his PitchCom signal from his catcher — how modern — and brought his sinker to bear on one-and-two, striking out Smith. That made it three outs and the save of a 5-4 win that was always in grasp yet loomed as elusive.
—June 6, 2022
(Free agent, 11/10/2022; signed with Brewers, 12/5/2022)


Relief Pitcher
August 3, 2022 – October 9, 2022

A little prior to six o’clock, there was a ceremonial first pitch. A bit closer to six o’clock, there was a second ceremonial first pitch. And with six o’clock fast approaching, there was a third ceremonial first pitch. Since they were all ceremonial, we’ll let their eerily similar numerical designations slide. The fourth first pitch was delivered by Mychal Givens, who’d been gone so long, Buck Showalter apparently forgot that Givens is a reliever rather than a starter. Or, more likely, the skipper figured an inning as an opener was good practice for whatever Mychal might contribute in the days ahead now that he’s recovered from his secret IL ailment. The theme of Closing Day turned Closing Night seemed to be “why not?”
—October 6, 2022
(Free agent, 11/9/2022; signed with Orioles, 12/19/2022)


April 5, 2021 – October 7, 2021

On the first pitch Diaz threw Blackmon, Story lit out for second. Cringing replaced confidence back in New York. Great, they have a runner in scoring position was my initial reaction, brewed with only the most natural ingredients of Rocky Mountain water, Moravian barley and Mets fan anxiety born of perennially porous defense. But what’s this in my mug? It’s James McCann — @McCannon33 to his tweeps — rising and throwing and gunning to second. And it’s Francisco Lindor, swiftly covering, catching and tagging. In a blink, Story is out and the game is over. A couple of extra blinks are required partly because replay review has to be fired up and partly because we are rubbing our eyes from a touch of disbelief. Yup, he’s out, and yup, we won a defensive struggle. We have a defensive lineup. We have gloves and players who know how to use them. And we finished off our Sunday on a play that rarely finishes off any Met day.
—April 19, 2021
(Traded to Orioles, 12/21/2022)


Relief Pitcher
April 5, 2021 – October 9, 2022

Trevor May succeeded Lugo, resembling the May we heard so much about in his pre-Met incarnation (a little like Diaz the Mariner needing time to find a holistic comfort level in New York, perhaps). Trevor notched two Ks, then didn’t falter when Kyle Schwarber lifted a ball to center. It was caught by Brandon Nimmo, leaving the score Mets 1 Phillies 0. That’s also where Nola left it when he completed his eighth inning of almost spotless work. It occurred to me that if all went well, I’d just seen a complete game thrown by a pitcher on the losing side. We just needed all to go well.
—August 14, 2022
(Free agent, 11/6/2022; signed with A’s, 12/16/2022)


April 15, 2022 – June 19, 2022

Despite Joe Girardi having aligned his Phillie defense into its victory formation, inserting Roman Quinn in center and moving starting center fielder Odubel Herrera to right to replace slugger and provisional star of the game Nick Castellanos, the Mets found their way into the proverbial end zone, leaning on heretofore unknown Nick Plummer to go deep. Plummer connected for his first major league hit and home run off Phillie closer Corey Knebel, as the leadoff blast, soaring decisively inside the right field foul pole and landing on the soft drink-sponsored porch, dramatically tied the back-and-forth Sunday night affair at four apiece. The proverbial whole new ballgame headed for extra innings once Knebel escaped further damage.
—May 30, 2022
(Free agent, 11/10/2022; signed with Reds, 2/4/2023)


Relief Pitcher
April 9, 2022 – October 5, 2022

Joely had his moment, his biggest as a Met, even bigger than his contribution to the combined no-hitter, which was fun as hell, but not essential. Sustaining the Mets’ 5-2 lead between deGrom’s departure and the sounding of Edwin Diaz’s trumpets was critical. Not as critical as most everybody is toward Rodriguez’s continued endurance as a 2022 Met, but almost as critical. What happened? Only good. Rodriguez ended the sixth with a groundout of Olson, a lefty taking care of a lefty. If that was it for Joely’s day, even Ice Cube would say Sunday was a good day. But Buck kept leaning on Rodriguez. Austin Riley’s leadoff single to start the seventh could have been a bad sign, but data from the next six batters indicate it represented a false positive. Joely got pinch-hitter Acuña to fly out. Then he struck out William Contreras and Robbie Grossman. In the eighth, the lefty remained on. Ozuna swung to no avail at Rodriguez’s changeups. Same for personification of a kick in the shins Michael Harris. Adrianza made contact, but only to ground to Luis Guillorme at third. That’s two-and-a-third innings of scoreless relief from Joely Rodriguez, or the bullpen equivalent of Jacob deGrom going nine or Rob Gardner going fifteen. It was the middle relief stint of the year. It probably buys Rodriguez at least 24 hours of goodwill before the sight of him warming in the pen reflexively gives everybody hives.
—August 8, 2022
(Free agent, 11/6/2022; signed with Red Sox, 11/23/2022)


Starting Pitcher
April 9, 2022 – October 9, 2022

Do you savor sound starting pitching? How could you not embrace Chris Bassitt’s eight frames of zeroes? Appreciate redemption stories? You got Bassitt shaking off the recent uncharacteristic difficulties that had dogged him for a few starts. A fan of personal growth, are you? Bassitt explained after the game that he had failed to connect with his catchers, so he spent the prior week really getting to know Tomás Nido. Their newfound simpatico was apparent in the bottom line: no runs, three hits, one walk and a locked-in Chris. I’ve noticed Bassitt bounces off the mound after every strikeout or perceived third strike, whether it’s called or not. Like every time. I get the idea that Bassitt, even for a starting pitcher, likes his routine the way he likes his routine. Not everybody can be a Flexible Fred if he’s gonna be his best. Remember how Max Scherzer zoned in on his warmup process to such an extent that he left a Japanese diplomat standing off to the side of the mound, depriving the visitor of ceremonial first pitch honors? That’s starting pitchers for ya, sometimes. For Bassitt to take off his blinders and discern why everything wasn’t bouncing his way the way he himself bounces off the mound showed a pitcher getting the most out of his thoughts as well as his arm. Good for him. Good for Nido meeting him halfway or however much of the distance was necessary so they could constitute a team within a team. Mostly, good for us.
—June 15, 2022
(Free agent, 11/7/2022; signed with Blue Jays, 12/12/2022)


August 12, 2021 – October 5, 2022

The Mets were up, 6-4, on Brandon’s bolt from the blue. We were definitely on the sunny side of the tight rope. Could eighth-inning specialist du nuit Trevor Williams keep us leaning toward life rather than the funeral pyre? Drew Smith was on the IL. Seth Lugo gave more than inning of himself in the last Subway Series thriller. Ottavino gave his all in the seventh. Holderman’s in Indianapolis. Williams? Why not? Eleven pitches. Three outs. Good call.
—July 30, 2022
(Free agent, 11/6/2022; signed with Nationals, 12/9/2022)


Starting Pitcher
April 8, 2021 – October 4, 2022

No. 99, Taijuan Walker, pitched well. Less well than No. 45, Zack Wheeler, who used to work here. Less long than Walker wished. Tai went five. He could’ve gone six. Luis Rojas and the spreadsheets somebody sends him said he couldn’t. Bye Tai. Bye that additional inning of starting pitching that, by domino effect, might have prevented two bullpen runs and therefore made the ultimate difference. Or maybe Rojas, Jeremy Hefner and whoever presses “send” are right, and we just want to blame somebody. Walker finds a way to give up runs, too. This is the part where it must be noted that it didn’t really matter which Met pitched when because hardly any Met hit at critical junctures.
—September 18, 2021
(Free agent, 11/7/2022; signed with Phillies, 12/6/2022)


Third Baseman-Left Fielder-Designated Hitter
March 30, 2019 – August 1, 2022

If it had to take nine pitches, so be it. And so it was. The ninth pitch. It was laced into the left field corner and it bounced over the orange line to signify ground-rule double, except somewhere between first and second, J.D.’s teammates were inhabited by the spirit of Todd Pratt c. 1999 and reduced Davis’s game-winning shot to a ground-rule single. But who cared about bookkeeping when the operative phrase there was “game-winning”? Indeed, Conforto scored the run that made the final tally Mets 4 Indians 3 and sent Davis immediately into the market for a new uniform top. I’m sure Michael, having had the shirt ripped jubilantly from his back two Fridays before, has some recommendations. Sometimes I get the feeling this is some other team we’re watching, specifically one whose highlights pervade MLB Network and associated digital platforms with its indefatigable nature and founts of talent. Since when do we have somebody like J.D. Davis and have him be ostensibly a supporting player?
—August 22, 2019
(Traded to Giants, 8/2/2022)


July 1, 2016 – October 9, 2022

Robinson may have inadvertently performed a public service by not beating out the double play, because had Mickey eyeballed a multitude of Metsies on the basepaths, he probably would have pinch-hit for Lugo. And honestly, what kind of idiot would do that with three outs to secure in the bottom of the ninth? Mickey, nobody’s fool too often in the course of a must-have game, let Seth bat for himself. It didn’t weigh too heavily on the course of events what our irreplaceable reliever might do in his first plate appearance of 2019, but it certainly crossed my mind that one fine evening in 2017, Seth Lugo hit a home run. Seth Lugo did not hit a home run at Coors Field on Wednesday afternoon, but he did line a very useful single into center field, scoring McNeil from first to increase the Mets’ lead to 7-4 and sprinkling the daily recommended amount of magic over this entire enterprise to make it feel as if destiny was not about to depart Denver without the Mets aboard its bus. C’mon, we need a little narrative in our life. We also needed three outs to have life. We had Seth Lugo and a three-run lead, so confidence wasn’t the problem it usually is.
—September 19, 2019
(Free agent, 11/6/2022; signed with Padres, 12/19/2022)


First Baseman-Outfielder
August 11, 2017 – July 16, 2022

I’m not what you’d call religious, but I can be spiritual, and oh my god, after Dom Smith belted a three-run homer in the eleventh inning at Citi Field on Sunday, minutes after the Atlanta Braves had buried the New York Mets one final time in 2019, I saw the light.
—September 30, 2019
(Free agent, 11/18/2022; signed with Nationals, 1/3/2023)


And finally, for the Met who left us who merits more than a clip, a montage of his own…


Starting Pitcher
May 15, 2014 – October 8, 2022

Gazed upon with Collector’s Cups half full, these are the days of Jacob deGrom and Rafael Montero, which produced two days of good sidebar news in a pair of senses. One, of course, is that two reasonably highly touted rookie pitchers were promoted and matched their hype, at least on an introductory basis. DeGrom exceeded it, actually, doing everything he could to win his debut. Not only did he throw seven innings and give up but one run — the product of shaky defense, mostly — but the kid ended the notorious hitless-by-pitchers streak at last. Jacob singled in the third and somewhere, I’d like to believe, Tom Seaver stood on first base snapping his warmup jacket shut as he looked to Eddie Yost to see if the hit-and-run was on. DeGrom also laid down a beautiful bunt, proving the young man was born under the sign of Chub Feeney…or at least the former National League president’s signature on a Spalding baseball.
—May 16, 2014

Summer and Jacob deGrom’s first big league win each arrived in good stead on Saturday. Summer, as the artificial-lemonade commercials used to tell us, is only here a short while. DeGrom, one hopes, will stick around so long that the length of his career will rival the length of his locks. Paradoxically, time of game for Jacob deGrom’s entry into the legion of Winning Pitchers was 2:38, much quicker than baseball usually takes in this century. That means one of the shortest games of the season occurred on the longest day of the year. Though we can all agree the crediting of individual wins isn’t the definitive metric by which to measure a pitcher’s effectiveness, a win is a win is a win. A win lasts forever. When young Jacob accepted a stream of congratulations from his teammates after the decision he’d been waiting his entire life went final, it wasn’t for improving his FIP.
—June 22, 2014

By the top of the ninth Sunday, while Pedro, Craig Biggio, John Smoltz and Randy Johnson ere soaking in their well-deserved adulation, I was decidedly going less than wild for what was becoming of a 2-0 Mets lead. It had been, to that moment, a beautiful day, the kind of day you tell people about down the road, that day Jacob deGrom not only outpitched his fellow All-Star Zack Greinke but personally drove in the run that halted Greinke’s consecutive scoreless innings streak. Usually “scoreless” and the Mets go hand-in-hand, but not like that. If you wanted a fastball that could cut glass…“y’know, razor sharp,” as Mark Wahlberg as Eddie Adams turning into Dirk Diggler would’ve put it…Jacob deGrom was your man. He was so bright and so sharp and so powerful for seven-and-two-thirds innings. Greinke was mostly Greinke, but that didn’t mean so much when we had deGrom, even if deGrom wasn’t permitted to display quite the extraordinary length that made Dirk Diggler famous in Boogie Nights. Jacob came out after his 113th pitch, following a performance that encompassed eight strikeouts, no runs, two hits and two walks.
—July 27, 2015

On the list of obstacles starter and winner Jacob deGrom needed to overcome, the Phillie offense placed fourth, behind 1) wanting to be on hand to accept the impending delivery of his first child, lest UPS leave it with a neighbor; 2) a lat muscle that tightened up after six innings of five-hit, no-walk, six-strikeout ball, but was described as not serious because slight Met aches are never anything to worry about, no siree, Bob; and 3) arctic conditions that made the 48 on Jake’s jersey an aspirational figure, once you factored in the wind chill. The Phillies, by comparison, were something you could confidently leave in the baby’s crib and not worry that any harm would come. They are, at this stage of their development, child’s play.
—April 9, 2016

When he signed with the Braves, Dickey could have entered nuisance territory, but New York and Atlanta have avoided reigniting their ancient rivalry. I’d reckon if a Mets fan had to grudgingly allow any ex-Met to prevail over the current Mets (give or take a Bartolo Colon), it would be R.A. Dickey. That is unless Dickey had the ill-timed fortune of facing Jacob deGrom, once considered an ace among aces, now indisputably the only ace in town. Jacob’s in his fourth season, and has rarely been any less than the second-best pitcher the Mets are packing. This year he’s been the best from start to almost finish. Rumors to the contrary, there is no Noah Syndergaard — he who is ours because Dickey was sent to Canada — on the active roster. Harvey wears a jersey with his last name on the back, but is otherwise unrecognizable from his brightest Dark Knight days. Nobody else answering to the description of ace, actual or potential, lurks within what can be referred to loosely as the Mets rotation. No Steven Matz. No Zack Wheeler. No, it’s just Jacob deGrom, and on Saturday night, it was Jacob deGrom going for his 15th win. Sorry, R.A. Our heart necessarily belonged to Jake. As did the ballgame, an easy win for the pitcher who came to the Mets with little fanfare and delivered big results. That description would apply to R.A. in his time, too, but that time was a while ago. There’s so little contemporary for Mets fans to get jazzed for. We had to be jazzed for Jacob going seven, giving up only one run and cruising to a 7-3 victory. Against a more randomly slotted Mets starter, we might have looked the other way and permitted ourselves a round of applause for Robert Allen had he shut down the 2017 Mets as he so often shut down the Mets’ 2012 opponents. But deGrom isn’t random. DeGrom is our reigning righthander of record.
—September 17, 2017

When a season of overall disappointment winds down, we Mets fans who seek out nights like Jacob deGrom’s final start can’t say what the next season will bring for the team, but we can isolate what has been most special about the season somehow still in progress, expressing our appreciation forcefully and reveling in it jubilantly. No question we’d go last night. No wonder we stood and applauded as long as we could. No wonder we remained giddy as we departed, arrival of that anticipated rain be damned. As with Jake getting batters out, it’s just what we do, it’s just how we are.
—September 27, 2018

Contrary to published reports, Frank Sinatra does not have a cold. He’s never been healthier. To clarify, I don’t mean the Frank Sinatra, but the closest thing contemporary baseball has to him. This iteration of Sinatra, whose right arm almost never delivers a false note, takes his particular stage every fifth day. Or night. Night and day, he is the one. The range. The phrasing. The elegance. The ability to make every number, from 48 to 1.70, his. You want more numbers to support this assertion that Jacob deGrom pitches like Frank Sinatra sang? Try a career-high 14 strikeouts in seven innings versus the Marlins on Wednesday night following 10 in six innings the last time he performed. Try 13 scoreless innings in these two starts (both victories) as an apropos encore to the way he ended his 2018 tour. Try 26 consecutive quality starts, tying a major league record that previously belonged solely to a legend named Bob Gibson. Try a 1.55 ERA over those 26 outings. Try 237 strikeouts in 185⅔ innings during this span, versus 34 walks. Try a 1.55 ERA from May 18, 2018, through April 3, 2019. It’s been a very good year. Every number is Jacob deGrom’s, and music would be nowhere without mathematics, but how about just sitting back and soaking him in? An evening with Jacob deGrom might as well be a night on the town with Frank Sinatra and friends providing the soundtrack. Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Sarah Vaughan…Jake is a pitcher straight out of the Great American Songbook.
—April 4, 2019

We watched Jacob dominate the Dodgers in the Mets’ first postseason game in nine years in 2015 and, four games later, we watched him persevere with lesser stuff and keep his and our team alive so they and we could win that Division Series and progress toward a World Series. We’ve seen Jacob deGrom regularly pitch brilliantly without support, suck up a plethora of undeserved NDs and Ls, and pitch brilliantly some more. We’ve seen him brandish every tool we associate with the most talented of position players. Jacob can, within reason, hit; hit with power; run; field; and, oh yes, he can throw. Four-seamers, sliders, changeups…he throws them all and he throws them to the dandiest of effect. Among the cohort of Met pitching prospects in which we used to lump him when we thought to lump him at all, he’s either outlasted or outclassed every one of his contemporaries. At the risk of once again incurring the wrath of the evil eye (kinehora!), he may be the first Met pitcher since Seaver neither encumbered nor defined by discernible flaws. We’re not swearing he’ll be spectacular, superb and scintillating without pause for the rest of his career. But we will testify that he’s been pretty much all that the entire time we’ve seen him in the 2010s. Jacob deGrom may have filtered into our consciousness through nothing more auspicious than a side entrance, but he’s where we start when we think about the Mets these days, and he’s where we finish when we think about the Mets in this decade.
—December 24, 2019

On August 28, 2015, in a game between the Mets and Red Sox at Citi Field, Mets ace Matt Harvey allowed only two hits over six innings, but Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart (2-for-4) ultimately upstaged his brilliance with an inside-the-park home run off reliever Carlos Torres. The ball actually left the park, but was mysteriously ruled to have done otherwise. Either way, the Mets wound up losing a game it felt like they should have won. On July 29, 2020, in a game between the Mets and Red Sox at Citi Field, Mets ace Jacob deGrom allowed only three hits over six innings, but Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez ultimately upstaged his brilliance with a home run off reliever Seth Lugo. The ball was definitely out of the park, but earlier, deGrom had Mitch Moreland struck out, yet his pitch was mysteriously ruled a ball, and after that at-bat continued, Moreland snapped deGrom’s long-running scoreless streak. Either way, the Mets wound up losing a game it felt like they should have won. On too many nights to mention, deGrom deserved better than a no-decision in a game the Mets went on to lose. On July 29, 2020, deGrom deserved better than a no-decision, and the Mets went on to lose.
—July 30, 2020

The Nats came to bat 29 times at Citi Field against deGrom. They collected two hits, didn’t otherwise reach base, struck out fifteen times and never scored. Come to think of it, they were overmatched as well by deGrom the hitter. Jacob went 2-for-4 at the plate; broke a scoreless tie by driving in the only run he’d need; and scored two others, presumably to keep his legs limber. DeGrom the .545-average hitter — wisely slotted in the eight-hole Friday — is a delicious side dish: a testament to a competitor’s determination to be skilled at all facets of his craft and a counterpoint to all the folderol about the desirability of the DH on a team that lately has more bats than gloves. But that, like Brandon Nimmo’s oh-by-the-way homer and four-RBI night, was served up merely to complement the 6-0 Mets win. The main course consisted of Jacob deGrom the 0.31-ERA pitcher throwing what appeared to be the most effortless 15-strikeout shutout in human history. No doubt he invested effort in his outing. There’s preparation of a physical and mental nature. There’s work in the bullpen. There’s data from the analytics department. There are discussions with catchers and coaches. There is an inherent degree of exertion that comes with releasing from one’s right hand 109 pitches — 84 of them strikes — across nine innings. Yet he makes it look so damn easy.
—April 24, 2021

Eating at our seats whatever we could grab from the shortest available line outprioritized missing any bit of the starting pitcher warming up to Lynyrd Skynyrd. The starting pitcher. He came with the price of admission. He’s always worth it. He’s worth balancing a Cubano and a fistful of napkins on your lap. Jacob deGrom faced his first batter and did not strike him out. That made the first batter an anomaly, because after Oneil Cruz doubled to lead off the game, deGrom struck out essentially every Pirate in creation. Ryan Reynolds. Rodolfo Castro. Rennie Stennett. Cal Mitchell. Ke’Bryan Hayes. Arky Vaughan. Zack Collins. Sammy Khalifa. Jason Delay. Jason Thompson. Jack Suwinski. Mike Easler. Greg Allen. Lloyd Waner. Paul Waner. John Wehner. It was one big blur of black and gold and K. From one on and nobody out to begin the first through the end of the top of the fifth, Jacob deGrom faced fifteen Pirates and struck out thirteen of them. He and Tomás Nido were having themselves a fine game of catch. It was our privilege to bask in the breeze Jake instigated.
—September 19, 2022

The opt-out is out there. Jake’s been the greatest pitcher in the world for a long time while wearing No. 48, but this offseason he’ll be looking out for No. 1, and I don’t mean Jeff McNeil. The balance between never wanting to see Jake in any uniform but the Mets variety and figuring out his future value past his current age of 34 (he’s older now than David Wright was in the 2015 postseason, and David Wright in the 2015 postseason seemed positively venerable) is a balance to be struck when there’s no more Mets baseball to be played in 2022. At least a few innings remained when Jake exited after six in Game Two.
—October 9, 2022

Emotionally, which is where fandom comes in, I know I would cringe hard at Jacob deGrom buttoning another jersey over his shirt and tie and announcing that, though he’ll always cherish the memories he has as a Met, he and his family are grateful for this opportunity with this new team in this new city and he can’t wait to get out there and pitch for these great fans. It’s as likely to happen that way as it’s not.
—February 17, 2019

(Jacob deGrom filed for free agency on November 7, 2022; he signed with the Texas Rangers on December 2, 2022.)

4 comments to Ex-Mets Everywhere All At Once

  • Clever title. This one’s a winner most worthy of plaudits, like a certain recent movie with a remarkably similar name. ;-) I like how you organized them in rough order of increasing value of contributions to the Mets franchise and goodwill among the fans while the players were Mets. Even with all that, there’s a big jump from Joely Rodriguez to Chris Bassitt…but we appreciate all their contributions to Mets victories and the overall cause. With this yearly featured column, spring soon arrives.

  • Seth

    Funny how there are ex-Mets all over the place, but never ex-Mets *fans*! We are forever.

  • open the gates

    Nicely done. Jacob DeGrom deserved more than the one isolated quote treatment, and your send-off was a nice summation of his stellar Met career. In retrospect, there was The Franchise, The Doctor, and The (sorry, one last time) Degrominator, then there was everyone else. I wish him luck against the rest of the American League.

    There are others I’ll miss from this list, particularly Chris Bassitt and Seth Lugo. Lots of guys who had their One Met Moment: Dom Smith walking off 2019, the Nick Plummer Game, Yoan Lopez sending Mr. Arenado a message, McCann calling a no-hitter, Nate Fisher making the most of his probably only chance in The Show. Even Cano’s three-homer game – I had forgotten about that, and the fact that he only had One Met Moment speaks volumes about what he didn’t accomplish in the Orange and Blue. Anyway, I’ll miss them all (except Cano, of course) – even Rob Zastryzny. Hey, he made it to the Show. That’s worth a shout out.