Are the Mets famous for trading unproven young talent for fading superstars? Or does management order the General Manager give up a star player just because he has hit his prime and wants to unload a big contract and build for the future? See how some teams and players have fared from some the most lopsided trades in baseball history.
Mo Vaughn for Kevin Appier
December 27, 2001
It should be noted that the decision to acquire Vaughn was solely that of then-Mets General Manager Steve Phillips.
Vaughn had missed the entire 2001 season due to injury, but when the opportunity to acquire Vaughn presented itself, Phillips and a contingent of Mets’ brass (including then-manager Bobby Valentine) descended upon a small batting cage in Connecticut to see Vaughn hit off a tee.
Phillips, convinced that Vaughn could immediately enter the Mets’ overhauled lineup and contribute without regard to his injury recovery, sent pitcher Kevin Appier (who had arguably been the Mets’ most consistent starter in 2001) to the Angels for the rights to Vaughn.
With the Mets, Vaughn was counted on to be a key component in a revamped lineup that featured imports Roger Cedeno, Jeromy Burnitz, and Roberto Alomar.
Vaughn got off to a slow start in 2002, was lampooned in local papers and on sports talk radio shows, and was clearly not in the same shape as during his signature seasons in Boston.
A late surge in September that saw him hit one of the most prodigious home runs in Shea Stadium history (in the middle of the “Bud” Sign on the monstrous Shea scoreboard) was one of the few highlights in a mostly disastrous season for Vaughn.
Vaughn played less than a month in 2003 before a knee injury ended his career and he join the MLB witness protection program.
He would play only 166 games, hit 29 home runs with 87 RBI and .249 batting average in two seasons with the Mets.
Appier won 14 games for Angels, who went on to win the World Series in 2002. Appier spent two seasons with Angels and was much more productive that Mo Vaughn.