Gee, That’s Cold

35Word from Toronto this afternoon is that newly arriving pitcher Logan Verrett will suit up in No. 35, the same number worn for nearly five years by Dillon Gee, whose designation is so fresh they haven’t even had time to properly demote, release or trade him.

I confess to being one of those fans who’s been waiting for years for Gee to turn into a pumpkin and for all the pleasant surprises he’s given, moving on now was the right thing to do but this still comes off pretty harsh! Is there something wrong with 32? 46? 53? Ouch!

Technically, players are required to be assigned a number when they are added to the 40-man roster and technically, they lose a number when they leave it, so the assignment itself is technically, OK. But it brings to mind those instances where they’ve used the uniform number as a signal to make a point — like when young Danny Garcia took No. 12 on the heels of the Mets giving up on cranky old Roberto Alomar. Maybe there was more to Gee’s unhappiness than what came out. Maybe its just a case of inadvertent insensitivity. Maybe it’s a signal of an emerging bloodlessness that will be called on to make similar decisions on guys like Daniel Murphy and Jon Niese in the coming weeks. What do you think?

Meantime let’s wish Logan Verrett better luck than his predecessor at the back of the bullpen, Akeel Morris, who’s on his way down, and up, to Class AA after a painful debut. Verrett you might know has been around a bit for a rookie. He was Rule 5’ed from the Mets this winter by the Orioles, but snatched away from them by the Rangers just prior to opening day. He lasted for four games in Texas (wearing 41) before the Rangers tried farming him, and he was claimed back by the Mets.

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Sign Here

Just for fun late Saturday night I whipped up this here banner based on Scott M. X. Turner’s site logo design and on Sunday for the first time ever marched in the Banner Day parade. I probably would not have done this had I not already had tickets to the game, but the Mets somehow knew that and so barely bothered to promote the tradition; I only heard about the event from reading other blogs. The entire thing was like a rumor.

I’m sure the extra labor involved with leading the fans through the stadium’s guts while keeping everything else on schedule — I’m sure it was no easy task — held little appeal for the organization, as did the potential for appearing that they might actually encourage or condone graphic commentary from the peanut gallery. I’m not even sure they let you in with a sign on any other day anymore.

The late Karl Ehrhardt , the “Sign Man” our banner honored, is about as subversive as they come in that respect; part of the appeal of his wry commentary was that it held the potential to shame or embarrass the club or its players when they deserved it: It was a unique means of live commentary practiced today by millions of less clever folks on Twitter. Ehrhardt in a 2006 interview said he felt the organization turned against his schtick upon the changing of team ownership in the 80s: Clearly the Mets still today retain little affection for such Mad Men-era aspects of their organization but I’m glad to have played a small part in keeping it alive. Mets staff by the way were all great. The usher way up near our section 535 seats even let us tape the thing on the railing at gametime.

Today we’re awaiting new of what jersey they will slap on newly arriving relief prospect Akeel Morris, who’s making a flying leap to Flushing from Class A St. Lucie so as to provide extra bullpen depth after a taxing weekend. Morris was assigned 64 during Spring Training this year.

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Dar-rell

9Word came following last night’s harrowing win that Las Vegas outfielder and longtime personal fave Darrell Ceciliani was recalled and will be active for tonight’s game.

No word officially on who goes down yet but by means of a hint, Darrell is a lefthanded hitter capable of playing all three positions, a pretty good athlete and baserunner with a little bit of power but who strikes out more than you’d like to see, if not at Kirk Niuewenhuis levels.

I feel bad for Niuewy and am sure he has one of those hot streaks contained in his bat but the team can’t keep waiting for it to come around. Hopefully Kirk can avoid a waiver claim and get to work in AAA.

1That thing I said about being a Ceciliani fan is true by the way. I followed his progress through 5 minor league seasons as an adoptive parent at the Crane Pool Forum and know that observers think highly of his no-batting-gloves, all-out playing style. I’ve come to admire how he’s shrugged off a couple of injury-marred, disappointing seasons and 2 winters on the Rule 5 block and is now posting numbers that are almost as good as his promising debut season in Brooklyn all those years ago.

Ceciliani in fact wasn’t even invited to the big-league camp this year, although he made some appearances as a late-inning pinch hitter. At least once — I believe this was last spring training — he showed up wearing 0 but was also seen before wearing 93. At Vegas he wore 11, but carried other numbers in the minors.

If the Mets release or trade Nieuwenhuis I could see Ceciliani turn up in the vacated No. 9 but would agree with the commenters below that No. 1 looks like a good possibility. (Update: This is official!)

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Stinky Mets Stink

34You probably don’t need much less want a reminder that the Mets are really stinking up the joint out there and giving back darn near all they gained as a result of that magical win streak, if that actually happened at all and wasn’t a figment of our imaginations like a successful sacrifice bunt. Boy do they stink.

The last bit of bad news is Dilson Hererra’s injury: He’s on the DL now and Eric Campbell is on the way back. Why the Mets won’t pull the trigger on Matt Reynolds is a bit puzzling but I think they’re stubbornly committed to doing all they can do to stick with the Flores-at-shortstop plan, even when seemingly better options are out there. At times, it reminds one of 2004 when they committed to — and stuck with — Kaz Matsui at shortstop over Jose Reyes long after it was apparent they could and should have reversed course.

I’m still of the mind that Flores isn’t a bad idea. Leave him be, and he might hit 20 home runs, which is a lot for a shortstop and just might turn out to be a lot for a Met this year. And in a lineup with adequate production elsewhere, it would be especially good but we’re not getting those things right now while David Wright and his 60-year-old body recovers from whatever ails him and Travis d’Arnaud heals a broken finger.

Though you don;t like to see an injury be the case, Hererra it seems could use some more seasoning in the minors anyway, as could Kevin Plawecki.

Have you guys met Noah Syndergaard yet? He’s wearing No. 34.

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Hey Nineteen

19Less than a month into the season and we’ve already seen promotions for the two guys who caught my eye in spring training: Since-demoted infielder Danny Muno and now, lefthanded-hitting third-catcher dynamo Johnny Monell.

Monell, as he’d modeled during Spring Training, takes the largely undistinguished uni No. 19 which I associate most strongly, for whatever reason, with Ron Gardenhire. Though Tim Foli wants in the picture too. Irascible TV personality Bobby Ojeda is still the most accomplished of the 35 guys who have worn 19 for the Mets, a group whose luminaries include diminutive relievers Daniel Ray Hererra and Tom “The Blade” Hall and fat one Heath Bell; outfield disasters Roger Cedeno and Ryan Church; Lenny Harris, who specialized in pinch-hits; Mike Hessman, who specialized in minor league home runs; and Anthony Young, who specialized in losing.

Welcome aboard, Johnny. We need all the help we can get.

2The move by the way followed the reintroduction of Dilson Hererra to the Mets lineup and a recasting of last September’s arrangement whereby Dilson manned second base and Daniel Murphy third base. I think it’s pretty clear that Murphy’s days as a Mets starter are nearing their end. If he becomes the left-handed pinch-hitter that Kirk Nieuwenhuis isn’t this year or Johnny Monell might be, great. If not?

Great article by Sporting News scribe Jesse Spector on the curious, rarely issued No. 69, worn more often by Pirates than by all other teams combined.

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Alt.Uni.Numbers

16You may have seen in the post below where I thanked my hardworking design team for crafting a new set of graphic numbers that finally got around to ditching the black a few seasons after the Mets actually, finally, blessedly did.

What I didn’t do was upload the images to the proper directory and so what I thought was a whole new set of numbers but didn’t really look like them actually was the same old set of numbers that looked exactly like them. My bad!

Anyhow, I think I may have finally straightened it out and new, brighter, bluer, less blacker numerals ought to be where the darker, shadowy ones used to be. You might need to refresh your page or something to make it happen, I don’t know. You’d figure after 16 years of doing this my skills would improve a little but, you know, I also thought Rey Ordonez could hit better if he just gave it a better try.

54Just for fun I ordered a mock-up of the silvery-gray road numbers they’ve been wearing on the alt-blues — a look I like a lot as it reminds me of young Dwight Gooden — which Dirk whipped up here. What do you think?

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Squad 51

The Mets’ experiment using Rafael Montero in a one-off start wasn’t a complete failure, but it’s over for now, and Montero is on his way back to Las Vegas. In his places comes Jack Leathersich, a promising chubby lefthanded bullpen strikeout artist making his first appearance in the majors.

Leathersich will become the 23rd man to wear No. 51 but just the fifth position player: It’s a number more closely associated with coaches who wore it exclusively until Mike “He was a Met?” Maddux broke the seal in 1993. It’s since been worn by Mel Rojas and Rick White — like Maddux, they were veteran bullpenners whom the Mets rode hard — and in a one-off deal by Lance Johnson on Mookie Wilson Day in 1996. (Wilson, then coaching in 51; swapped numbers with Johnson that day. Johnson had three hits including a double and a triple that day and so dominates the offensive stats in 51).

The rest of Area 51 are coaches: Roy McMillan wore it while riding out the string managing the 1975 Mets for fired manager Yogi Berra. Pitching guru Rick Peterson reportedly wore 51 but kept it hidden under his buttoned-up jacket for four-and-a-half years. Most recently it went to another influential coach, Dave Hudgens, whose unorthodox hitting philosophy seems to had made a star of Lucas Duda and a pariah of Daniel Murphy. Other noted 51 coaches: Chip Hale, who I was rooting for to get the Met managerial job that went to Terry Collins; Cookie Lavagetto, an original Met coach; and Wes Westrum, who’d switch to No. 9 upon being named Casey Stengel’s successor.

Welcome aboard Jack!

 

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Your City Needs You

47Oh well. When you get down to it I didn’t expect we’d win even 11 straight. And if I’m being truly honest I’m a little surprised we didn’t tailspin at the Wright injury, much less the d’Arnaud one, but even amid the joyousness of the streak it was clear the lineup misses them, win or lose. Get well soon David and Travis: Your city needs you.

And look: It’s not like I’m rooting against Daniel Murphy but how long can any lineup withstand a 5th-place hitter doing what he’s been doing to the Mets? That “don’t worry, he’ll get his 185 hits” line is the kind of thing they say instead of what I’m about to: He’s fortunate that the majority of his would-be job-takers (Reynolds, Herrera, Flores) all bat righthanded. You know who’d be a great second baseman for this team? Chase Utley, that’s who. Would I consider giving the Phillies Syndergaard and Plawecki for him? Yes I would.

One positive Friday if you stuck around long enough was an impressive debut of Hansel Robles, who wore No. 47. He throws high gas. I’m suspicious of Bobby Parnell’s ability to bounce back from neck and elbow surgery in consecutive years and Vic Black in my view still needs to demonstrate he’s going to be worth waiting for. Relievers: In, out, churn. Get injured at your own risk.

*

0Big thanks to my pal Dirk over at No-No Hitters who volunteered his services in replacing the old black-shadowed numerals on the site with new ones. The change is subtle but like on the Mets unis, it’s a big improvement.

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The Magic is Bad

7The Mets are leading the world in costly victories. This is a weird thing to get used to, but that’s twice now this season — really thrice if you count Jenrry Mejia’s disappearing act on opening day — where the Mets came away with a big win at a big cost. Today it was Jerry Blevins and Travis d’Arnaud going down with broken bones within 15 minutes of one another.

13I’m sure the Mets will miss both of them; I feel like personally sending d’Arnaud a get-well card; he was looking like a legitimate All-Star and certainly one of the chief reasons the loss of David Wright to injury hasn’t been the blow I feared it could be. Suddenly though, we’ve got a lineup without him and Wright, and before long using Eric Campbell as your cleanup hitter is going to show.

22I’m confident Kevin Plawecki is a nice hitter but as we saw with d’Arnaud, the ascension is rarely steady. Anyway, Plawecki will be a Met on Tuesday. They’re holding No. 22 for him.

67Blevins was great too, but relief pitching is such a crapshoot. I suppose the Mets now turn to Alex Torres to get out Freddy Freeman next week. Alex and his giant hat might inspire a giggle but the way he’s handled Christian Yelich this weekend was the kind of thing that can make a good impression on a guy like Terry). The guy they’ve recalled in the meantime, Hansel Robles, is a righthander and off to a very good start in Las Vegas (reportedly throws 98 MPH gas). He wore No. 67 in Spring Training: He’d be the first 67 in regular-season history if he retains it but with numbers as common as 30, 32 and 34 sitting around unissued I suppose its anyone’s guess.

Eh, screw it. I say he becomes the first 67 ever.

Speaking of milestones I was reminded by Gordon in the comments section that we’re approaching the 1,000th Met ever, faster than we would have guessed even. Danny Muno., by our and Gordon’s count, was No. 990; Plawecki and Robles should take us to 992 and form there…?

Who’s your guess? And when?

 

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Full Muno

16Well, it happened a week or two later than I’d imagined it might but Daniel Muno made it to the Mets. The reserve infielder was recalled Friday and is expected to be wearing No. 16, which most recently went to another impressive spring training candidate, Alex Castellanos, but was last used in a game that counted by Daisuke Matuszaka last year.

In what was a small surprise the Mets sent down Rafael Montero to make room for Muno. Howie Rose on the broadcast the other night was saying the Mets weren’t terribly happy with Raffy’s pitch selections during his appearances in Atlanta; I want to think perhaps they need to stretch him out again so he can take Dillon Gee’s job when the time comes.

Other than that, and of course the David Wright injury, very little has gone wrong so far for the 2015 Mets who through the first 10 are on pace to win 113 games this year, including all 81 at home. Let’s Go Mets!

(The number assignments by the way are recorded at the Ultimate Mets Database as they happen, or as I get to them).

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