Forgotten Mets come in different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. In previous installments, the roles of these players ranged from a backup catcher to a fourth outfielder. In this iteration, another reserve outfielder will be discussed. In 2010, the Mets' forgotten player was Chris Carter.
Carter was drafted in the 17th round of the 2004 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Stanford University product spent three and a half seasons in Arizona's system before being traded to the Washington Nationals. However, on the very same day, Carter was shipped to the Boston Red Sox for Wily Mo Pena. Carter debuted with Boston in 2008, yet only made 20 plate appearances. On August 25, 2009, the Red Sox acquired Billy Wagner from the Mets for two players to be named later. In October of that year, the Mets received Eddie Lora and Carter to complete the deal.
In spring training 2010, Chris Carter performed well. His drive and work ethic led to Mets manager Jerry Manuel giving him the nickname "The Animal." At one point, he hit home runs in three straight plate appearances. This led to clamoring in favor of bringing Carter north to start the season. However, that did not happen. Prior to Opening Day, he was cut and sent to Triple-A.
After posting an OPS over 1.000 in Buffalo, The Animal had to be let out of his cage. On May 11, 2010, the Mets called up Carter. In his first ever game in a Mets uniform, he hit a go-ahead pinch-hit double against the Nationals. This was the highlight of his time in Flushing.
Following his promising debut, Carter didn't offer many more exciting moments. In 180 plate appearances with the Mets, he hit a fairly decent .263/.317/.389 with four home runs. For a fourth outfielder, this was acceptable. Although noted for his bad defense, Carter produced well enough to not make fans groan when he came to the plate. The Animal left as quickly as he arrived. In December 2010, he was non-tendered.
Prior to the 2011 season, Carter signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. In June of that year, he was released by Tampa. He inked a deal with the Atlanta Braves following his departure, but he did not make a single appearance in the majors in 2011. He took his talents to Japan the following year, joining the Seibu Lions of the NPB in March 2012. He spent parts of two seasons with them, before leaving in 2013.
Chris Carter fit the bill of the prototypical fourth outfielder. If it weren't for his grission-oozing nickname, he'd be left in the annals of Mets history. However, with a little help from Jerry Manuel, he earned a bit of fame from a mostly meaningless spring training performance. "The Animal" is what's remembered. For that, Chris Carter is a forgotten Met.