A little over a week ago, I did a roster of the top 14 best offensive players for the New York Mets. In case you forgot the rules here they are again: each player could only be used once and only one year can be represented. The offense seemed to be a fairly normal array of very good and great players who have played for the Mets. There were few surprises and the starting lineup was dominated by both the late 90s and 2006-2008. When it comes to pitching, however, there are some very strange choices.
'85 Dwight Gooden
24-4/1.53 ERA/268 SO/2.13 FIP/228 ERA+
The Dwight Gooden of 1985 put up an one in a lifetime season. Following up his Rookie of the Year performance in 1984 with a Cy Young in his second season, Gooden was a God. He lead the league in strikeouts, ERA+, and complete games that year and was simply lights out. Like Darryl Strawberry, it is truly unfortunate that his off the field issues derailed his career. Although he ended up winning 194 games over the course of his career, more than half of those came before the age of 25.
'92 Sid Fernandez
14-11/2.73 ERA/193 SO/2.70 FIP/127 ERA+
Sid "The Kid" was overshadowed by Gooden, Cone, and others but was a solid pitcher in his own right. Injury prone and a much better home pitcher than away pitcher, Fernandez is perhaps best known for keeping Game 7 of the 1986 World Series close after replacing Ron Darling. Although 1992 was in the middle of his decline as an effective pitcher, it was a good year on an otherwise forgettable team. Try to name 5 starters from the 1992 Mets. It's hard to do.
'90 David Cone
14-10/3.23 ERA/233 SO/2.83 FIP/116 ERA+
We had him first. Yankees fans will claim that he won a championship with the Yankees (and Jays) and tossed his perfect game in pinstripes but he is still a Met. He retired one at least. Anyway, 1990 may not have been his overall best year (one could make a case that 1988 was better), he had a better K/9. It was an excellent year that is mostly forgotten about because of how awful the Mets were then.
'05 Pedro Martinez
15-8/2.82 ERA/208 SO/2.95 FIP/145 ERA+
Signed away from the Boston Red Sox by new GM Omar Minaya, Pedro Martinez (along with Carlos Beltran) brought excitement and swagger back to Queens. Although the Yankees were his Daddy, the Mets were his home. Although his stay in Queens was injury marred (including missing the entire 06 playoffs and almost all of the 07 and 08 seasons), Pedro was well liked by fans. 2005 was his best year with the Mets. If you really want to see how amazing Pedro was, check out his 1999 with the Red Sox. It's possibly the greatest pitching season in the history of baseball.
'04 Victor Zambrano
2-0/3.86 ERA/14 SO/2.33 FIP/111 ERA+
It's been six years. I still remember where I was the moment I heard Scott Kazmir was traded. I was sitting in a parking lot outside a restaurant in Cape May, NJ, when I tuned into WFAN and heard Mike Francesa announce that he was traded for Victor Zambrano. A casual fan at the time, I thought the Mets traded for the Cubs Carlos Zambrano a move I was very excited about. I was very wrong. The '04 season was a disaster for many reasons but perhaps Zambrano was the perfect reason why it was so. Unable to be fixed by "The Jacket" Rick Peterson, this is more of a tongue-in-cheek pick considering how awful that team really was. He only pitched 14 innings for the Mets in 2004.
I have to admit that the bullpen is mostly forgettable. Many were added just to fill gaps because the teams they were on were completely awful. If I could pinpoint one weakness to this team, it's the pen.
'88 Randy Myers 2.53 FIP
'01 Rick White 3.71 FIP
'09 Pedro Feliciano 3.55 FIP
'02 Armando Benitez 3.41 FIP
'95 Jason Isringhausen 3.83 FIP
'91 John Franco 2.93 FIP
There's not really much to say about these guys. Myers and Feliciano are both LOOGYs. Rick White was the only pitcher on the 2001 team with a decent FIP. Armando Benitez was a headcase and vilified by fans but makes the team because he too was the only worthwhile player on that team. Isringhausen gets the nod simply because I felt that there needed to be one Generation K member on this team. John Franco gets added because he was with the team forever and probably was one of their better relievers.
All together, I think the team is actually quite good. The only problem is that they're probably not very good compared to some other teams. Either way, it's an impressive roster for a suffering franchise for more than half that time.