I seriously expected to see a 1,000 word post on this from my buddy Ed Marcus at Real Dirty Mets, but be that as it may, MLB Trade Rumors does a nice job recapping the day we traded Kevin Appier for Mo Vaughn.
On this date in 2001, the Mets acquired first baseman Mo Vaughn from the Angels in exchange for right-hander Kevin Appier. Vaughn had missed the entire 2001 season with the Angels due to a ruptured tendon in his left arm, but General Manager Steve Phillips & Co. opted to roll the dice on the slugger anyway. The trade was meant to bring some power to the Mets’ lineup, but Vaughn’s injuries wound up making the deal one of the worst moves of Phillips’ tenure in New York.
The media got wind of the trade almost a week prior to its completion when sources told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that Phillips, manager Bobby Valentine, and Assistant General Manager Omar Minaya traveled up to Massachusetts to watch Vaughn work out, which was unusual given that Vaughn was under contract with Anaheim. ”I understand it was very positive. I heard that they really liked what they saw,” said one source. That would presumably include Vaughn’s physical shape, despite the slugger’s reported increase from 245 pounds to 275 pounds in his first two seasons with the Halos.
Less than a week later, the Mets agreed to take on Vaughn and the roughly $50MM owed to him over the next three seasons. As part of the deal, the Mets got to defer some of the money paid to the first baseman while the Angels covered the $8MM he was still owed as part of his signing bonus. Meanwhile, they would also part with Appier, who was coming off of an impressive season in his first (and only) campaign in blue and orange. The right-hander posted a 3.57 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9, his best numbers since his time in Kansas City.
Of course what happened next would be nothing short of a disaster for the franchise financially as well as the toll it took on the team and the standings. Vaughn kept putting on the pounds and his poor knees just couldn’t handle all that excess girth. He did manage to bat .249 and slug 29 homers in 166 games for the Mets before succumbing to Whopperitis and suffering one too many Big Mac Attacks. He was eventually carted off the field in a Caterpillar.