Kevin Appier Signs With Mets

ByABC News
December 11, 2000, 2:50 PM

N E W  Y O R K, Dec. 11 -- The New York Mets finally got their big namefree agent pitcher today when Kevin Appier agreed to a $42million, four-year deal to play for the NL champions.

New York is a very exciting city, Appier said from thewinter meetings in Dallas. You cant get a bigger stage than that. If we do great, thats only better. Im glad to have the opportunity.

The Baltimore Orioles also wanted Appier, and seemed prepared tooffer even more than the Mets, but the right-hander chose New York.

The Mets zeroed in on Appier after finding out Friday that freeagent Mike Hampton had walked away from the team to take a record$121 million, eight-year contract with the Colorado Rockies. NewYork also lost out on Mike Mussina, who signed with the Yankees,and Denny Neagle, who went to Colorado.

Appier in the Mix

Right from the beginning, we knew Kevin Appier would be rightin the mix of pitchers we were trying to pursue, Mets generalmanager Steve Phillips said. Obviously we had interest in theHampton and Mussina fronts, but those ran parallel with discussionswith Kevin. We feel fortunate to get a pitcher of his caliber.

The Mets also acquired reliever Donne Wall from San Diego foroutfielder Bubba Trammell and signed Tsuyoshi Shinjo, a free agentoutfielder in Japan, to a $700,000, one-year contract.

Several other teams, including Boston, had pursued Appier, whoturned 33 on Wednesday. The New York Yankees showed early interestbefore signing Mussina.

Appier was 15-11 with a 4.52 ERA in 195 1-3 innings for AL Westchampion Oakland last season. He was traded to the Athletics in themiddle of the 1999 pennant race.

The Mets did not try to trade for Appier when he becameavailable in 1999, perhaps because of worries about his health.Once one of the ALs top workhorses, he missed most of the 1998season because of surgery on his right shoulder.

Appier has been fine for two seasons, and the Mets concernsseemed to have diminished. In his 12-year career, Appier is 136-105with a 3.63 ERA.