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Monday, December 23
Updated: December 27, 6:37 PM ET
Floyd elated to be playing for Mets

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- After bouncing from Florida to Montreal and then to Boston in a dizzying 2002 season, Cliff Floyd is glad he's finally found a home with the New York Mets.

Cliff Floyd
New York Mets
146 520 86 28 79 .288

"I just knew this was a great place for me to come," Floyd said Monday. "With the team adding the guys they have we can be where we need to be in the NL East. This is a great place for me."

Floyd is relieved to have found some stability in New York after being traded twice in a three-week span in July.

He agreed to a $26 million, four-year contract with the Mets that gives him limited protection to block trades, an important consideration after last year's experience.

"Man, that was crazy," Floyd said. "That was the worst time of my life. I was like, 'What's going to happen next? I could still go somewhere else."'

The Mets are counting on Floyd to be a key part of their team for the next four years. He is the third big free-agent acquisition for the Mets this offseason as they try to bounce back from a last-place finish.

The Mets signed left-hander Tom Glavine to a $35 million, three-year deal, making him the ace of their staff. The team also bolstered its bullpen by signing lefty Mike Stanton to a $9 million, three-year contract.

"There's no reason we shouldn't be at the top of the NL East at the end of the season," Floyd said.

Floyd gives the Mets' their most feared left-handed bat in the outfield since Darryl Strawberry left Shea Stadium more than a decade ago.

Floyd batted .288 with 28 homers, 43 doubles and 79 RBIs last season for Florida, Montreal and Boston. He had a .388 on-base percentage and slugged .533.

"Cliff certainly adds a whole different element to our offense than what we had a year ago," Mets general manager Steve Phillips said. "If the guys who struggled last year play to their average performance or close to that, we should be a much better team offensively."

Floyd will be a major upgrade in left field. Roger Cedeno is slated to move to center field and Timo Perez will be a reserve. The Mets also could still trade either Cedeno or right fielder Jeromy Burnitz.

New York was last in the majors in batting average in right field and second-to-last in the NL in both homers and RBI in left field. That was a big reason they were 13th in the league in scoring and finished 75-86.

The Mets are also counting on rebound years from Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar.

"I wondered why they didn't win," Floyd said. "I wondered what was going on. It doesn't take much when things go bad to fall into the losing habit."

The Mets haven't had a left-handed outfielder with Floyd's kind of power since 1990, Strawberry's final year with the team.

His presence should take some pressure off Mike Piazza, who too often was the only threat in the middle of the Mets' lineup.

After spending much of his career playing in front of sparse crowds in Montreal and Florida, Floyd is happy to be in a baseball city.

"To me, it's all about the fan support," he said. "When the fans come out and show you some love it feels good. You play for the fans and you want to have support."

Floyd struggled with injuries early in his career but has played 295 games in the last two seasons. He has dedicated himself to a training regiment this offseason, working out every morning at 8 a.m., and eating meals prepared by a nutritionist.

The deal with Floyd is the latest big move made by owner Fred Wilpon, who took over sole ownership of the team from Nelson Doubleday in August.

Floyd will get a $6.5 million salary in each season of the deal. He has full no-trade protection in the first year of the contract and can choose 10 teams he won't be traded to in the final three years.

The Mets still need to find a starting third baseman to replace Edgardo Alfonzo and a shortstop to play until rookie phenom Jose Reyes is ready to take over.

After Norihiro Nakamura's decision to stay in Japan, the Mets have turned their attention to free agents Bill Mueller and Jose Hernandez to fill the third-base hole.

"I think we're a better team," Phillips said. "We still need to address a couple of issues at third base and what we're going to do at shortstop. I think we're headed in the right direction."

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Cliff Floyd is happy to be back in the National League with the Mets.
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