These are the best five international free agents in New York Mets’ history

Andres Chavez
Simeon Woods-Richardson
Mar 23, 2019; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; A view of the Grapefruit League logo on the hat of New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (24) prior to the game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

International free agents can benefit a team in a variety of ways. The most obvious one is that the player reaches the bigs and becomes a key contributor for that ballclub that signed him for several years. However, they can also return value via trades. With that said, who have been the New York Mets‘ best five amateur signings?

Before the Ronny Mauricios and Francisco Alvarezes of the club, there were others that paved the way and completed successful careers, with the Mets or in other places Here are some of them:

1. José Reyes

Country: Dominican Republic

Career WAR: 37.2

Reyes is the best shortstop in the New York Mets’ history. That’s a fact and it’s not even close. He accumulated 37.2 WAR in his career.

Playing with the Mets in two stints (2003-11, 2016-18) he had 408 stolen bases and 113 triples with the team, both being the top figures in franchise history.

Here is Anthony DiComo’s report found in MLB.com: “From his days as a teenager, Reyes tantalized international scouts with his five-tool potential. The Mets signed him out of the Dominican Republic shortly after he turned 16, and Reyes reached the big leagues four years later. Immediately, he made an impact, hitting .307 his rookie season and blossoming into full stardom two years later. From 2005-07, Reyes led the National League in stolen bases each season, topping out at a career-high 78 in ’07. He made four All-Star teams over a six-year stretch and won a batting title in ’11.”

2. Edgardo Alfonzo

Country: Venezuela

Career WAR: 28.8

Alfonzo was a fine second baseman and a key fixture of the Mets’ in the late nineties and early 2000s. He was known as a clutch hitter who always produced in tough spots.

The Mets signed him as a 17-year old from Venezuela back in 1991. “Alfonzo was never a chart-topping prospect during the early part of that decade, but he developed into one of the most accomplished players in franchise history. During eight seasons in New York, Alfonzo hit .292 with 120 home runs and an .812 OPS — numbers he punctuated with four more homers and 17 RBIs in 24 postseason games. Alfonzo also hit a key home run in Game 163 to push the Mets into the playoffs in ’99, demonstrating a knack for clutch hitting that continued into the 2000 postseason; overall, his .318 average with runners in scoring position remains the highest in franchise history,” MLB wrote.

3. Carlos Gómez

Country: Dominican Republic

Career WAR: 24.4

Carlos Gomez was a fantastic two-way player in his prime: a Gold Glove-caliber defender and a threat to homer or steal a base every time he stepped into the batters’ box or the basepaths.

His best years came with the Milwaukee Brewers, though, but before that, he helped the Mets net Johan Santana via trade.

“Even though the best years of Gómez’s career came in Milwaukee, the Mets received significant value from him; their signing of Gómez as a 16-year-old in 2002 allowed them to trade for Twins ace Johan Santana six years later. As the linchpin of that deal coming off his rookie season, Gómez played two forgettable years in Minnesota before blossoming into a repeat All-Star with the Brewers. In his best two seasons, 2013-14, Gómez hit .284/.347/.491 with an average of 23 home runs, 30 doubles, seven triples and 37 stolen bases per year. He also won a Gold Glove in center field in ’13.”

4. Nelson Cruz

Country: Dominican Republic

Career WAR: 37.9

One that is still active (and mashing) is Nelson Cruz. You would be amazed to know that the New York Mets signed him as a 17-year old amateur free agent.

“For the Mets, Cruz was the international signing that got away. The Mets signed him at age 17 but traded him to the A’s while he was still a teenager, before he even took a professional at-bat with the organization. Unlike when the Mets dealt Gomez, the return for Cruz was light: infielder Jorge Velandia, who hit .149 over parts of three seasons in Flushing. Neither the Mets nor the A’s, for that matter, envisioned Cruz becoming a six-time All-Star elsewhere as one of baseball’s most productive sluggers even into his late 30s.”

5. Octavio Dotel

Country: Dominican Republic

Career WAR: 15.8

Octavio Dotel was one of the game’s premier middle relievers in the 2000s. However, he became famous for his role in other bullpens, not on the New York Mets.

“Dotel signed with the Mets out of the Dominican Republic at age 19 and played his rookie season in Flushing, even appearing in two games during the 1999 playoffs. From there, he became an important part of franchise history. After the ’99 season, the Mets traded Dotel and two others to the Astros for Derek Bell and Mike Hampton, the latter of whom left via free agency a year later. When he did, the Mets received the compensatory pick they used to draft David Wright.”