23 Skidoo!

Oh for the days I used to be the first person to report on this (and one of the only to care). Hey guess what! Cuddyer will wear No. 23!
23When I think of 23, I think of Doug Flynn, the slick fielding infielder who arrived in the Tom Seaver trade. Flynn was never any kind of hitter but could turn the pivot, and lasted longer than any other occupant of the number, amassing more appearances, turns at bat, and overall hits (an even 500) than any other 23.

But perhaps a better parallel to Cuddyer was the mercurial Bernard Gilkey, himself a veteran right-handed hitting corner outfielder when he joined the Mets in 1996. Gilkey famously went on to have one of the best single seasons of any Met — 23 or not — and probably the best debut season for a new arrival in team history. His marks for home runs (52), RBI (223), doubles (90), stolen bases (29) and runs scored (226) easily top his peers in 23, and most were accumulated during that freaky ’96 year. His marks would eclipse those of Joe Christopher, the Virgin Islands-born standout of the 1962-65 Mets. Along with Ron Hunt, Christopher in 1964 was the first Met regular to hit. 300 in a season.

The less said about Brian Schneider, the better. Most recently, 23 belonged to briefly visiting reserve catcher Taylor Teagarden, whom I believe is again a minor league free agent looking for a AAA catching job and a spring training invite.

Only four pitchers have worn 23 for the Mets; the noteworthiest being Pat Mahomes, the versatile swingman of Bobby Valentine’s teams. Mahomes was a magical 8-0 in 1999, almost entirely in long relief bailout situations.

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Qualify This

5Thrilled to see today that the Mets went and signed veteran stickman Michael Cuddyer, who, given the usual caveats about age and injury and old outfielders signed by the Mets, is almost exactly what the club needed: That is, a good righthanded hitter who can play a corner outfield slot and first base, with the bonus of being a FOD (Friend of David). He’s the new Moises Alou!

Seriously, the news that Colorado had extended a Qualifying Offer cooled expectations to a point where I was working hard to convince myself that Allen Craig or Michael Morse — poor men’s Michael Cuddyers, at best — were worth a shot, or maybe saying the hell with it and overpromoting Brandon Nimmo was going to be the plan. But I’m glad this worked out, and with a price that’s none too steep given the potential to make a difference.

Cuddyer you should know wore No. 3 these last few years in Colorado but that’s because Carlos Gonzalez occupied the No. 5 Cuddy rocked all those years in Minnesota. He not about to take either digit in NYC, but we could make a case for 55, or maybe, No. 1 if fans can forget about the doomed Chris Yound experiment.

47The Mets in the weeks leading up to this signing prumed the 40-man roster and lost a few misnumbered guys along the way. Little doubt I liked Andrew Brown more than Terry Collins ever did, but he’s been claimed by the Athletics. Catcher Juan Centeno in the meantime is taking his weird No. 36 to Milwaukee.

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Observing A Lot Just By Watching

70So I was away in Europe the last week of the season and so completely missed the surprise re-emergence of good old No. 70, Wilfredo Tovar. I also missed the decisive sweep of the Braves that helped us to not only spoil whatever playoff hopes they had left to but catch them in the standings, and Lucas Duda’s heroic capture of the 30-home run mark, and Bobby Abreu’s feel-good retirement, and Sandy Alderson’s new contract. On the positive side, I missed all the incessant Jeter hype.

I further forgot to investigate the suggestion below that at least while David Wright remained active the Mets were running Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 out there on a regular basis, maybe for the first time ever. I didn’t note that the best career ERA ever recorded by a No. 48 now belongs to Jacob deGrom, a deserving Rookie of the Year candidate.

I guess the message of this season might be, It Wasn’t All Bad If You Were Actually Paying Attention. Sure the next step will require a club that makes a lot fewer execution errors than this one did, while scoring a bunch more runs, but its not unrealistic to expect a few good decisions this winter and the continued evolution of the emerging core could accomplish that.

28Nobody asked me, but my guess is that we’ve seen the last of both Dillon Gee and Daniel Murphy. Gee, who had a poor year and a lengthy injury this season, probably doesn’t have enough talent to fit into the staff next season. Everyone loves Murphy, but given his rising price and the fact that we’ve got some Flores and then Herrera waiting, it only makes sense to move on. Perhaps he goes in that big trade for that  outfielder and/or shortstop and/or leadoff hitter this club needs. Stay tuned.

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68 and Clear

68Reports out there this morning say newly imported lefty reliever Dario Alvarez will wear No. 68, becoming the first man in team history to wear that uni.

As noted in the below post, Erik Goeddel retains his 40-man assignment in No. 62, while Josh Satin (13) and Juan Centeno (36) retain the digits they had in previous appearances this year.

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This is the Night of the Expanding Man

62The Mets headed to Miami Sunday night and expect to meet four teammates there Monday, the first day active rosters expand. Rejoining the team for the first time since his awful start to the 2014 season earned him a summer in Las Vegas, Josh Satin is finally resurfacing, as is catcher Juan Centeno, whom we also saw earlier this season. Satin, we expect, will retake the No. 13 he left behind while Centeno wore 36 earlier this season. Both numbers are still available.

In the meantime, AAA pitcher Erik Goeddel and obscure lefty relief prospect Dario Alvarez are also expected to join the club. Goeddel was already on the 40 and is said to possess good if wild stuff, as his whiff and walk figures in Vegas would respectively indicate. His 40-man assignment is 62, last worn by relief prospect Elvin Ramirez in 2012.

Alvarez, whose contract is newly purchased from Class AA Binghamton, would appear to have earned this opportunity on the basis of his lefthandedness, particularly in light of Josh Edgin’s recent elbow woes. 34, 43 and 46 are available.

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Mookie Dilson?

Hi, I’ve come back from the dead to speculate on the surprise promotion of young second-sacker prospect Dilson Hererra, who evidently is on the way to Citifield Friday to sub for the injured Daniel Murphy and hopefully make this punchless and too-often fun-less team worth watching again.

1I stuck with them this year, I really did, but there’s been little to update you with on the number front. Herrera’s promotion in fact will be the first new addition of a new player to the big-league squad in 70 games (since Taylor Teagarden on June 10, according to figures from my friend Greg).

Herrera, whom we received only a year ago in the Marlon Byrd Trade (or was it John Buck? Both at once? It’s been so long) was among the youngest players in Class AA this season, so a shot at second base in the bigs is quite the opportunity. One would think, with money tight, a successful trial could make Daniel Murphy even more of a longshot to return in 2015. He’s owed an arbitration bump at minimum this offseason but stands to reason he’d take a multiyear deal now if the Mets would only offer.

They probably won’t. That’s baseball.

As astutely pointed out in the below post’s comments, Hererra could inherit either No. 1 (most recently belonging to Chris Young) or 2 (Justin Turner in 2013) upon his arrival.

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Ham and Egbert

61Not clear as of this writing who will be demoted when journeyman lefty Dana Eveland arrives for today’s Mets-Phillies but it may as well be fellow traveler Buddy Carlyle who rescued an incompent Mets team Saturday with a win and 3 vital innings of relief work.

Carlyle wore No. 44, a quick reissue of the jersey Kyle Farnsworth fouled for the club. Eveland is said to be issued No. 61, a jersey last seen on the back of Jack Egbert, who might be the most forgettable Met all of all time.

44These Mets are driving me nuts. We know they don’t possess the most explosive offense in the league, but jeez, the pitching has been borderline great and the bullpen pieces appear to be in place after a lot of tinkering. So why do they struggle? Idiotic baserunning by the likes of Daniel Murphy and easy pop-ups clanking off Chris Young’s glove in the outfield. Philly is a flat-out awful team. It wouldn’t take 14 innings or more to beat them if the Mets could only be counted on to avoid these preventable execution errors. Not sure how Terry is dealing with this, but I’d bench Murph today and act like he won’t go tomorrow until he gets the message.

Let’s Go Mets and stuff.

 

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Hit or Miss

Another rough stretch, another few victims, another media crisis, more angry fans in a panic.

51So it goes for the Mets, who unexpectedly whacked hitting coach Dave Hudgens — and predictably cashiered gasbag reliever Jose Valverde — following a disheartening Memorial Day debacle. It wasn’t long after Hudgens took leave that his opinions concerning the effect of fans booing and criticisms from team broadcasters were speeding around the circuit, and he followed that up this afternoon by remarking on the team’s “purse strings” — a fresh serving of red meat for stimulated fans who’d somehow convinced themselves that Sandy Alderson hasn’t been deftly splitting hairs for years now when he’s asked about financial constraints governing the ongoing turnaround.

57That all the issues — the booing, the Keith, the money, the hitting, the bullpen — are at some level related is the story of the season so far and the burden the Mets are dragging around everywhere. And there was certainly a whiff of Wilponian sneakiness to the Hudgens affair. He was quite obviously one of Sandy’s pet hirings, and replaced by a guy, Lamar Johnson, who’d been hanging around Mettown for a decade. On the other hand, maybe parting with Hudgens was Sandy’s offering to the bloodlusters — dopes in the press eager to link the offensive struggles to the organizational hitting strategy as part of an ongoing effort to bring down Sabermetics and prove the Earth is flat — and an acknowledgement that despite the process, the results called for a change.

So Lamar Johnson is here, the first No. 57 since Johan Santana — and Hudgens has turned in No. 51. Valverde has turned in 47. Elsewhere we’ve seen the return of Matt den Dekker in No. 6 and Josh Edgin in 66, and Vic Black, still No. 38.

 

 

 

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Saved

44It’s harrowing at times, and probably not entirely by design, but hats off to the threadbare Mets for demonstrating how inconsequential the whole notion of the closer role is this year, seeing as they’ve essentially stashed their worst pitchers there since the early injury to Bobby Parnell and are still hanging in there.

And as though to prove it, after Wednesday’s game (and Monday’s so-called “save”) they cashiered closer-of-the-moment Kyle Farnsworth so as to call up their own questionable relief talent (Josh Edgin) and save a few bucks. Who’s next in line? Who cares? It’s clear that without a true standout, and by avoiding the total gascans (or reassigning and or releasing them when appropriate) Whomever Pitches That Night will convert saves at about the same rate as That Other Guy. It’s true the Mets have had an abysmal conversion rate on saves this year (47%) but the leaguewide average isn’t much to look at either (64%) and you figure the process of competition and tinkering — particularly at the dawn of a wave of incoming pitching talent — will improve the performance over time. Right now they could turn to veteran mediocrities like Jose Valverde or Daiskue Matsuzaka — or promising-but-erractic performers like Jeurys Familia or Jennry Mejia. I have confidence that can all get about 64%. It really doesn’t matter.

66At any rate, I’m not losing sleep over the whacking of Kyle Farnsworth, yet another complete disaster to have worn No. 44 for the Mets. Seriously this shirt from Jason Bay to John Buck to Lastings Milledge has belonged almost exclusively to losers and disappointments. Josh Edgin, last time we saw him, was the Mets first and still only No. 66.

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Walk-off

50All pumped up again over the Mets who badly beat a hilariously old and ineffectual Yankee squad last night as word came the club was on the verge of the first wave of player promotions that hopefully improve the performance and outlook of the team. Wednesday’s starter will be Rafael Montero, whom we saw this spring wearing No. 50.

48Similarly, Jacob deGrom wore No. 48 in spring, which has also remained available. Not certain on the corresponding moves yet, although Gonzalez Germen is hitting the disabled list to make room for deGrom. Just guessing now but would be great to cut loose Kyle Farnsworth while we’re still ahead. Unlike many Mets fans I never had a strong opinion of the whole Mejia thing but he looks like he’s having fun here so let’s keep it going.

mejia

 

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