The 5 worst free agent signings ever by the New York Mets

It isn't easy being the New York Mets. It seems no matter what they do they are always the second most important story in the Big Apple. You can understand why they would throw money around and try to sign some big name free agents. That way they are the main story for at least a day or two. The problem is that this strategy has often backfired on the Mets. Big free agent flops are hard for a team to live down, that is if you are not the New York Yankees. These are the five biggest errors the Mets have made in free agency.

5. Kaz Matsui: A star shortstop in the Japan, Kaz Matsui signed with the Mets for 3 years at $20 million in 2003. In his last season in Japan, Matsui had 33 home runs. Somewhere, during the trip to New York, he lost his power. In two and a half seasons with the Mets he hit just 11 home runs. Worst yet his on base percentage hovered around .300. In 2006 the Mets realized their mistake and traded Matsui to the Colorado Rockies for Eli Marrero.

4. Luis Castillo(notes): Castillo was at one time a speedster, but by the time the Mets dished out $25 million over 4 years, those days were long gone. Castillo has managed a .270 batting average over the first three years of the contract, with a total of four home runs and 85 runs batted in. Yes, that was a total of three years work. He stole an average of 15 bases per season as well. Castillo was just a bad signing from the start and the Mets still have one year to go on the deal.

3. Vince Coleman: Throughout most of the 1980's the Mets were battling with the Cardinals for supremacy in the National League East. What better way to deal the Cards a blow, than to sign away one of their best players, Vince Coleman. That is what the Mets did in 1990 when they signed Coleman to a 4 year deal worth $12 million. Coleman just couldn't stay in the lineup for the Mets. In three years in New York he stole just 99 bases. Coleman recorded 100 stolen bases in three different seasons while with the Cardinals. Coleman's attitude also became a problem when he injured Dwight Gooden in the clubhouse and threw a firecracker a fans in the parking lot. He eventually was traded away to the Kansas City Royals for Kevin McReynolds.

2. Bobby Bonilla: For a long time Bonilla was the poster boy for bad free agent contracts. In 1991 he signed a 5 year/$21 million deal with the Mets. In his three plus years in New York Bonilla never matched the RBI numbers he had put up with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He missed more than twenty games each season with the Mets, after only missing 10 games in the four previous seasons combined. In his three full seasons with the team he averaged just 24 home runs a year. The Mets shipped Bonilla to the Baltimore Orioles in 1995.

1. Oliver Perez(notes): This was a signing that baffled people right from the start. A pitcher that was five games under .500 for his career, is given a 3 year deal for $36 million. As bad as that was it got worse for the Mets. In the first two years of this contract Perez has a record of 3-9, with an earned run average of 6.80. Perez had 100 walks and 123 hits allowed in 112 innings pitched. In 2010 the Mets asked Perez to go on a rehab assignment to work things out, and he refused. That is why Oliver Perez is the Mets worst free agent signing ever.

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Updated Thursday, Feb 3, 2011