Aaron Laffey and Anthony Recker are expected to make their Mets debuts this aternoon in the rubber game of the Marlins series. Reports this morning say Laffey will wear No. 47, becoming the first Met to wear that number since Miguel Batista a year ago. Recker will wear No. 20, which last belonged to Jason Pridie in 2011 and hasn't appeared behind the plate for the Mets since the glory days of Mike Fitzgerald. And, not for nothing, but 1984 was a glorious year for the Mets.
Who knows what to expect of Laffey? He's a pitch-to-contact lefty with OK numbers in parts of six seasons with four teams, most recently the Blue Jays. Recker in the meantime is a career .152 hitter over cups of joe with the A's and Cubs, which means he's close already to improving upon Mike Nickeas.Johan Santana was trtansferred to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man while Juerys Familia was sent to AAA to make room for Laffey on the active roster.
I'll be at the game for the first time this year. Let's Go Mets!!
It may be still be awhile before Jenrry Mejia appears in uniform again for the Mets but at least we now have an idea of which one. Programs distributed at Citifield this week (but not the roster at Mets.com incidentally) list the disabled
lefty reliever as having taken No. 58 — this after seeing his previous No. 32 issued to newcomer LaTroy Hawkins. The online roster still lists Mejia wearing 32.
It's probably for the best suiting Mejia up in a rookieish garb again while we try to forget the bumbling early months of his career and the inevitable recriminations that followed his surgery. It was also a nice gesture on behalf of the 40-year-old veteran Hawkins, who according to Baseball Reference has worn 32 for the Twins, Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Rockies, Brewers and Angels over the course of his 19-year career. He's also settled for short stints in 23 (in Baltimore); 22 (with the Yankees and Astros) and 21 (Yankees).
Thanks to Jason E for the tip!
As pointed out in the comments below, LaTroy Hawkins has broken camp with the Mets wearing not the No. 30 assigned to him during the spring but No. 32. No word on what Jenrry Mejia will wear when he comes off the disabled list because 32 has been his assignment since his ill-fated and premature arrival three long years ago.
Otherwise it looks like the new Mets hit the field Monday in the same jerseys issued to them this spring. Numerically, that's Collin "Slammy" Cowgill in No. 4; Marlon Byrd in No. 6; Brandon Lyon in 34; Greg Burke in 46; Scott Atchison in 50 and Scott Rice in 56. I was rooting for Pedro Feliciano to return in his original jersey but there is still time for that it appears. I'd also have bet on Andrew Brown and Brandon Hicks to have made the squad, at least when camp began but to their credit have rewarded guys like Cowgill and Byrd for winning the jobs offered to them.
I tend to be optimistic in the spring in general (the blowout win on opening day is only helping) but would say I think this Mets team could have a pretty good offense this season just counting on improvements from Davis and Duda and the incremental upgrades from Bay to Byrd and Thole to Buck+ but the starting pitching is way too thin to imagine holding up over the course of a long year (with or without Santana, of whom I hadn't expected much of). The bullpen will be adequate. The defense OK. Overall, underestimated. Let's Go Mets!
Here’s one offseason move you may have missed: Mets by the Numbers is donating its data to be hosted at the Ultimate Mets Database in a combination of two of the longest-running Mets reference sites on the Internet. Beginning today, you can find all player uniform numbers as well as an all-time numerical roster at the Ultimate Mets Database.
Over the coming weeks, I will redirect the links to player profiles, uni numbers and rosters here to their counterparts at the UMDB, then commence a relaunch of this site only without the bolted-on database. What will stay are years of site updates, essays and the discussion of Mets past and present that have been a part of this site from the beginning. Only the roster and player records are moving — and I’ll still be maintaining that data, only there, not here.
Why now? For one thing, this site was long overdue for a re-engineering (it’s built on a long-outmoded version of the useful but complex and ever-changing CMS Drupal -- but I don’t have the time or skill to devote to keeping it up to date. But the best argument for it is that uni number data has always been a natural fit for the UMDB, which until now included just about everything except uni numbers. Moving the info to the UMDB and integrating it with all the other cool data there also allows for new features like scorecards with numbers and truly awesome running tallies of uni-number leaders and stats-by-uni-number -- features that I’d only been able to scratch at here. All these links should be functional right now; if you encounter any bugs just let me know.
MBTN and the Ultimate Mets Database go back a long way. Shortly after launching this site, I went to check on some facts when I came across it for the first time. As it turns out, our sites launched within weeks of one another in February of 1999 (that’s more than 14 years ago!!) and we’ve since collaborated on projects through fellow Mets fans at the Crane Pool Forum including the Schaefer Mets Player of the Year project, which recreates the sponsored recap of Met broadcasters of the 1970s. You too should participate in these projects. Trust me when I say this stuff is in good hands over there.
You can still add to the discussion and contact me here; in the meantime look for a re-launch of this site soon. Oh, and opening day in 2 weeks. Let's Go Mets!!
Mike Piazza probably didn't deserve the suspicion and innuendo that writers latched onto to deny him the Hall of Fame votes he deserved this year, but if they deny him again based on the garbage in his new biography he has only himself to blame. To be fair I haven't read LONG SHOT and don't think I will but the reviews I've seen make it apparent that Piazza would be better positioned to head to Cooperstown next year had he not picked a fight with legendary broadcaster Vin Scully, said dumb things about Latin ballplayers, and in an effort to out-hack the hacks, cops to a lifelong struggle with "back acne" while coming clean on trying everything but steriods in an effort to improve his game.
Hey look. We all know by now how the game was played during the Mike Piazza Era, and to me at least whether anyone did or didn't ought not be the only thing that comes between a player and his Hall of Fame chances. But just having a book coming out seemed like the kind of thing writers who'd hold it against Piazza would hang him for no matter what: If he admits to steroid use in his book, he's out; if he doesn't, he's a liar. I'm sure he gets in, wearing a Mets cap, and the Mets retire his number like they oughta, it's just going to be more difficult now.
All in all, I prefered the mopey Mike Piazza who didn't say or do much more than drive home runs screaming into the Keypan sign.
Adam Rubin of ESPN got a hold of the list, and it looks like this (new issues in bold):
1. Jordany Valdespin
2. Justin Turner
3. Omar Quintanilla
4. Collin Cowgill
5. David Wright
6. Marlon Byrd
9. Kirk Nieuwenhuis
11. Ruben Tejada
12. Brandon Hicks
15. Travis d'Arnaud
16. Brian Bixler
19. Zach Lutz
20. Anthony Recker
21. Lucas Duda
22. Landon Powell
23. Mike Baxter
27. Jeurys Familia
28. Daniel Murphy
29. Ike Davis
30. LaTroy Hawkins
32. Jenrry Mejia
33. Matt Harvey
34. Brandon Lyon
35. Dillon Gee
36. Collin McHugh
38. Shaun Marcum
39. Bobby Parnell
40. Tim Byrdak
44. John Buck
46. Greg Burke
47. Aaron Laffey
48. Frank Francisco
49. Jonathon Niese
50. Scott Atchison
52. Carlos Torres
53. Jeremy Hefner
55. Pedro Feliciano
56. Scott Rice
57. Johan Santana
58. Cesar Puello
60. Darin Gorski
61. Wilmer Flores
62. Elvin Ramirez
63. Juan Lagares
64. Reese Havens
65. Zack Wheeler
66. Josh Edgin
67. Hansel Robles
68. Matt den Dekker
70. Wilfredo Tovar
71. Gonzalez Germen
72. Juan Centeno
73. Robert Carson
74. Rafael Montero
75. Cory Mazzoni
76. Josh Satin
77. Andrew Brown
80. Jamie Hoffmann
Couple of interesting things to point out here:
* Josh Satin tumbling from 3 all the way to 64
* Pedro Feliciano coming full-circle to reacquire the 55 first issued to him when he was a throw-in in the Shawn Estes Trade.
* Frank Francisco staying in 48 while newcomer Scott Atchison gets 50: I will bet that changes.
* Omar Quintanilla getting No. 3 while 6 (his last number) goes instead to Marlon Byrd. I would guess that changes, with Byrd taking whichever of 20 or 22 are surrendered by the backup catchers Recker and/or Powell.
* On the other hand, LaTroy Hawkins has been 22 or 32 for nearly his entire career, so looks like he'd take Powell's 22.
Some discussion in the post below raised the practice of dressing young prospects at camp. I was certainly expecting to see Zack Wheeler wearing his preferred 45 but was pleased to see the Mets haven't granted him that priviledge quite yet. As Gogred points out, Dwight Gooden wore 64 as a spring training invite in 1984 (and again many springs later in an atempt to recapture the feeling. At this time in 2004, David Wright was rocking No. 72 -- although Jose Reyes wore 7 during 2003's spring training. Last year, Matt Harvey was 70 and Kirk Nieuwenhuis was 72. It's believed that Travis D'Arnaud could be assigned his preferred 15 (I incorrectly said 16, below) but there's something to be said for reminding the youngsters to have some humility.
We should have the first sightings of unis and/or rosters real soon. Keep an eye out.
Only days until we'll know what numbers the Mets will issue to their new personnel, and there's a lot of it. That includes at least 12 guys on the 40-man roster yet to have been issued a number, and at least a dozen more with spring training invites. And that doesn't include the couple of brand-name goods they may still buy this spring, Brandon Lyon (frequently but not always, 38) and Michael Bourne (most recently, 24 with Atlanta).
Let's start with a few good guesses. Shawn Marcum wore 18 last year with Milwaukee. That gives me an uncomfortable 10-year flashback to Jeff D'Amico, like Marcum a veteran junkball pitcher via Milwaukee, recovering from an injury, wearing 18. But that would require Tim Teufel changes his shirt (could Ruben Tejada surrender 11 in a chain reaction?) Marcum also has some equity in 28, although that belongs to Daniel Murphy. 38 would work as long as they don't issue it to Lyon should he come aboard.
Frank Francisco wore No. 50 throughout his career, but the Mets did not issue that last year and Francisco took 48. We could see him switch this year.
John Buck, acquired in the Dickey deal, wears 14 most frequently but with that retired here could wear 4 or if he dares, 44. Travis D'Arnaud appears to prefer 16. Zach Wheeler, as per his Twitter handle, appears to prefer 45, which is available. Omar Quintanila is back on a minor league deal and could reacquire No. 6, and Josh Satin could take back No. 3, but no guarantees for either. Finally there's the complicated case of Pedro Feliciano, who's worn 55, 39 and 25 in his Met stints. Who knows what they give him this time. His coming back to the Mets without having appeared at all for the Yankees and their arrogant general manager is about the greatest thing ever. I'm less certain he's got anything left, but that's what the invite is for.
The rest of the new guys are more or less unknown quanties and likely to take what's given them.
The following numbers are currently un-issued: 3,4 ,6, 12, 13, 15, 16, 20, 22, 30, 40, 43-47, 50, 55, 56, 58, 60, 61, 63-65, 67-72, 74-99, not to mention 0 and 00.
The following players need assignment, as per the Mets official roster: Pitchers Greg Burke, Gonzalez German, Darrin Gorski, Marcum, Hansel Robles and Wheeler; Catchers Buck, D'Arnaud,and Anthony Recker, infielders Brandon Hicks and Wilfredo Tovar; and outfielder Collin Cowgill.
Nonroster invitees awaiting unis: Pitchers Scot Atchison, Feliciano, LaTroy Hawkins, Aaron Laffey, Cory Mazzoni, Rafael Montero, and Carlos Torres; Catchers Juan Centeno and Landon Powell; Infielders Brian Bixler and Satin; and outfielders Andrew Brown, Marlon Byrd and Matt den Dekker.
See you in St. Lucie!
(Headline influence by Lindsay Buckingham).
The Mets this week made what ought to go down as one of the more important personnel moves in recent history with the trade of beloved knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (along with both of his catchers!) to Toronto for catcher prospect Travis D'Arnaud, young pitcher Noah Syndergaard, veteran catcher John Buck and very young outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.
Given Dickey's age, the Mets' needs, and their limited resources, dangling him in a trade was absolutely the right thing to do, and from here it's on D'Arnaud and his mates to make it worthwhile. I don't for a minute believe the Mets necessarily "punted" on 2013, 2014 or whatever, I'm certain they can repeat a 4th place showing with or without a few hot new prospects and optimistic they might do more. They might not either, but that's why they play the games. As for Dickey, what can you say. He was a great Met, and we'll miss him, but this was one opportunity where the Mets had a hammer, and I'm pleased to see they used it.
Even more shockingly, they managed to unload both Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas while doing so. Thole, who looked like a backup goalie in his. No. 30 jersey, probably still has a chance to hit .300 but I'm glad he won't be trying it with us. That Nickeas could be included in any deal almost defies reason: The Mets fearlessly whacked him from the 40-man roster this offseason but getting him back into the fold on a minor-league deal was one of those tiny details packing a potentially big payoff. It also miracously resuscitated the Tim Bogar Trade Chain with four new branches when I was certain it was dead. Good job on that Sandy. Nickeas leaves behind No. 4 and previously wore No. 13.
If we needed the reminder (you probably don't) that not all hot prospects work out, Mike Pelfrey quietly signed a make-good deal with the Twins this week. I have to admit that I pulled just as hard if not more for Pelf to succeed here than Dickey. He looked like a great power pitcher until you saw the doubts and poor results that tortured him here: I wouldn't be surprised if I found out he was hurting for longer than we knew.
Finally the Mets added an outfielder. Collin Cowgill probably wasn't high on anyone's wish list but he's a right-handed hitter (and lefty thrower!) who reportedly can go get it in center field, suggesting at worst he could platoon with Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Cowgill, acquired for minor-league infielder Jefry Marte (an Omar-Era International signee briefly considered a real prospect) wore No. 12 most recently in Oakland and No. 4 previously with Arizona.
Of the Toronto arrivals, D'Arnaud is listed as No. 15, which ought to be available unless Fred Lewis comes back or makes a stink and I wouldn't expect either. John Buck in this article passed along by MBTN reader Matt details his reason for preferring 14, but with that number retired, could choose 44, 4 and/or 34.
In honor of today's date -- 12/12/12, MBTN presents the Top Twelve 12s in Mets history, presented Casey Kasum style:
12. Danny Garcia (2003-04): Reserve infielder who seemed to play with a chip on his shoulder, Garcia became the first Brooklyn Cyclone ever to graduate to the Mets. His assignment of No. 12 was no mistake as the organization appeared to intentionally distance itself from its previous occupant (see No. 8 on the list, below).
11. Jesse Gonder (1963-65): Lefthanded hitting catcher who had a fine offensive campaign in his one and only season as a regular, 1964, when he hit .270 with 7 home runs in newly built Shea.
10. Shawon Dunston (1999): Brooklyn product who made the most of a short stay in Metsville. Remembered best for a grinding at-bat to lead off the bottom of the 15th, in the rain, during Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS vs. Atlanta. His single helped to set the table for Robin Ventura's dramatic "Grand Slam Single" that ended it.
9. Jeff Francoeur (2009-10): Gregarious, enthusiastic, maddening player of tantalizing abilities and awful results, I'll remember Francoeur as the final middle finger in Bobby Cox's long history of flipping off the Mets.
8. Roberto Alomar (2002-03): When Bobby Valentine heard that general manager Steve Phillips had acquired All-Star Roberto Alomar for a collection of varied Met junk, his first question was "what's wrong with him?" Beyond declines in bat speed, foot speed, defense, enthuiasm and charisma, not a thing.
7. Jeff Kent (1993-96): Anyone watch Jeff on "Survivor"? Good competitor who lost his teammates by being too singleminded. Never saw that coming.
6. Willie Randolph (1992; 2005-08): If things in Metville keep going as they have, the nostalgia for the Willie Randolph Era will ramp up accordingly. He was after all the last manager to bring a Mets team to the playoffs. Resist. Although Willie brought a certain dignity to the role that is missed, his team rotted beneath detachment, denial and paranoia, setting into motion years of half-assed fixes.
5. Scott Hairston (2011-12): Yeah, I wouldn't have guessed he was this high either but he just gave us one of the best seasons a nominal Mets "backup" ever provided.
4. Tommy Davis (1967): A star in his one and only year as a Met (1967) and key figure in blockbuster Tommie Agee trade.
3. Ken Boswell (1968-74): Sometime starter and steady reserve infielder, and a key contributor in 2 postseasons (3-for-3 pinch-hitting in the 1973 World Series and two HRs in the 1969 NLCS).
2. Ron Darling (1985-89): The longest-tenured and best of Darling's three Met uni numbers was 12. He was 30 games over .500 wearing 12 (68-38) and one game under .500 wearing 44 and 15 (31-32). He's also become an excellent broadcaster and ambassador.
1. John Stearns (1977-84): A Bad Dude, a four-time All-Star, and setter of weird stolen-bases-for-a-catcher records.