2016 Numerical Roster (Bulldog Edition)

Normally by this time of the year the Mets have published an updated roster at their official site but as altertly pointed out by Jetropolitans in the comments section below, some outlets have gone live with updated rosters. These places (CBS Sports and ESPN) typically wouldn’t use “original” reporting for this, so it was likely passed along to them, and their rosters align. I suppose the interns they have working over at Mets.com just haven’t gotten to it yet. Meantime I’m checking with sources.

Assuming what they are reporting is accurate, here’s how it looks this morning. Note the CBS and ESPN rosters do not include figures for the coaching and field staff, but it would appear some would be on the move as a result of player changes: Plawecki from 22 to 26 (unseating Tom Goodwin) and Bastardo at 59 (Dan Warthen). There are still a pile of NRIs to assign.

To be continued…. New issues denoted with a *

Number Name Notes
1 Vacant was Eric Young
2* Dilson Herrera Herrera reclaiming 2 from Juan Uribe; last wore 16
3 Curtis Granderson
4 Wilmer Flores
5 David Wright
6 Pat Roessler? was coach Pat Roessler
7 Travis d’Arnaud
8 Vacant Uunassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Vacant was Kirk Nieuwenhuis
10 Terry Collins?
11 Ruben Tejada
12 Juan Lagares
13* Asdrubal Cabrera was Jerry Blevins
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15* Matt Reynolds was Bob Geren
16* Alejandro De Aza was Dilson Herrera
17 Vacant unassigned (Keith Hernandez)
18 Tim Teufel?
19 Vacant was Johnny Monell (NRI)
20* Neil Walker was Anthony Recker
21 Lucas Duda
22 Vacant was Kevin Plawecki
23 Vacant was Michael Cuddyer
24 Vacant unassigned (Willie Mays)
25 Ricky Bones? was Bones in 2015
26* Kevin Plawecki was Tom Goodwin
27 Jeurys Familia
28 Vacant was Daniel Murphy
29 Eric Campbell
30 Michael Conforto
31 Retiring Mike Piazza
32 Steven Matz
33 Matt Harvey
34 Noah Syndergaard
35 Logan Verrett
36 Sean Gilmartin
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Vacant was Vic Black
39* Jerry Blevins was Bobby Parnell
40 Bartolo Colon
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 Addison Reed
44 Vacant was Eric O’Flaherty
45 Zack Wheeler
46 Vacant was Tyler Clippard
47 Hansel Robles
48 Jacob deGrom
49* Josh Smoker was Jon Niese
50 Rafel Montero
51 Vacant was Jack Leathersich
52 Yoenis Cespedes
53 Vacant (Coach here?)
54 Vacant was Tim Stauffer (Coach here?)
55 Vacant was Kelly Johnson (coach here?)
56* Jeff Walters was Scott Rice
57 Kevin Long? was Long
58 Jenrry Mejia
59* Antonio Bastardo was Dan Warthen
60 Vacant
61 Vacant
62 Eric Goeddel
63* Gabriel Ynoa vacant in 2015
64 Akeel Morris
65* Robert Gsellman was vacant in 2015
66 Josh Edgin
67* Seth Lugo was vacant in 2015
68 Dario Alvarez
69 Vacant was vacant in 2015
70-76 Vacant
77 Brandon Nimmo
78-99 Unassigned
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Bastardly

59The Mets have called Dan Warthen their pitching coach since the famous Willie Randolph firing in June of 2008, and as such, he predates every man in uniform except for David Wright.

He’s quietly becoming a legend.

Yet his No. 59 could be under siege now that reports are trickling out that the Mets have come to an agreement with lefthanded reliever Antonio Bastardo, a 59 both in Pittsburgh and in Philadelphia. I learned long before Warthen got here not to expect a whole lot from free-agent relievers while also believing the more the merrier. A Mets team with Bastardo is a little more formidable than one without him, so it gets my approval.

I’m rooting for Warthen to stay in 59 but wouldn’t be surprised if he gives it up.

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Grody to the Max

I anticipate it will still be a week or so before the Mets reveal updates to their roster and assigned uni numbers, but this morning I stumbled across what would be among be the first such published updates in club history. The below clip (see the second item) was published in the MMilwaukee Sentinel 022262ilwaukee Sentinel on Feb. 22, 1962.

Can’t help but think had this column published today it would be called “GRODY TO THE MAX” rather than the “THE SPORTS WHIRL’D.” Grody was a longtime columnist at the Sentinel best known as a boxing writer.

As for those Mets numbers, we’re anticipating issues to new 40-man residents Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Josh Smoker, Jeff Walters and Brandon Nimmo; minor league guys who’ve been invited to spring training like Ty Kelly, Stolmy Pimental and Jim Henderson; potential reassignments for guys like Darrell Ceciliani; new bench coach Dick Scott; and newly added players like Alejandro De Aza and Jerry Blevins (Neil Walker in 20 and Asdrubal Cabrera in 13 are the only sure things at this point).

Stay tuned!

 

 

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Hooray for Mike Piazza, and for Us

31It’s an odd combination of reassuringly high standards and an embarrassingly poor record with regard to qualified candidates that has gotten the Mets through more than half a century with a single player seeing his number retired, but that’s likely to double this year now that Mike Piazza has been elected to the Hall of Fame.

As it happens the Mets are hosting the Braves Sept. 21 this year, 15 years to the day from Piazza’s signature moment as a Met. I may have told this story before but I was there that night, and nearly killed myself leaping with unimaginable joy, landing on an empty Budweiser bottle, which shot out front under me as I crashed down onto those rib-cracking Upper Reserved boxes.

As a result, I’m not sure he ever touched third base.

This I also remember as the day where the sad new realities of the dehumanizing, cautious and paranoid post-911 world first really set in, requiring us to pass armed soldiers on the 7 train platform, wait in a lengthy queue out in the Shea parking lot just to get into the park (we missed the first inning, and I hate that). Also, I guess due to the long layoff between home games, the beers were warm. I mean, not just not cold, but warm. Jay Payton kicklined with Liza Minelli and before we knew it the Patriot Act was passed. It’s all mixed up still.

On some level I’m also cynical of the whole number-retirement thing, and feel like Piazza’s close association with the Wilpons, and his postcareer outspokenness on his desire to be identified as a Met is on some level orchestrated to this end, though give Mike credit: He knows how to give fans what they want to see.

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Make Way for Team UnSexy

The Busiest Mets Offseason Without Any Sex Appeal Ever continued Tuesday when the Mets reportedly reached a 1-year contract agreement with free agent outfielder Alejandro De Aza.

30The lefty swinging De Aza, already a veteran of 5 other organizations, is expected to platoon with incumbent center fielder Juan Lagares and was chosen above other prospective jobbers like Will Venable. I’m not even going to guess what number De Aza is issued but will note that 19 is newly available upon Johnny Monell‘s release from the 40. He previously wore 7, 11, 30, 12, 31 and 45. Actually I’ll guess he takes 30 while Michael Conforto, as discussed below, takes 15.

Being one of those fans who tries hard to understand, if not rationalize, what the Mets tend to do and think we can say that De Aza is a cost-effective solution providing the same general “skill-set” of a Denard Span at a fraction of the cost or commitment and is less likely to miss half a season with a hip injury, and continues an overarching strategy to build on last year’s pennant winning club by minimizing the chances they are as debilitated by injury — rather, by overcoming those injuries — as they were a year ago. That said you have to wonder whether the best strategy might have been instead to trade Curtis Granderson and take your chances re-upping Yoenis Cespedes, entering the Jason Heyward fray or otherwise competing for the top talent.

Those ships however have sailed. Ready or not, these are our guys.

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Glad Tidings from New York

20Neil Walker on Tuesday crashed the Mets’ annual holiday party at Citi Field, showing off what appears to be his new uni number, 20. Walker would be the first second baseman to wear 20 since 2000 Mets legend Kurt Abbott. Uh, yeah. Anthony Recker wore 20 last but as you may have heard the handsome backup catcher signed a deal with the Indians following the season.

Walker by the way said he wore 20 to honor his dad, Tom Walker, who as you can see here wore the same for the Montreal Expos. Neil reached the big leagues with the Pirates only to learn 20 had been retired for Pie Traynor.

13Later on Tuesday, the Mets and erstwhile lefty stopper Jerry Blevins agreed on a new deal for 2016. Blevins you may recall arrived at the eve of the ’15 season and did an all-around super job getting the Bryce Harpers and Freddie Freemans of the league out before fracturing an arm the same day that Travis d’Arnaud went down with an injury. Only Blevins never made it back to the team by suspiciously re-breaking the same arm shortly before his expected return.

If that’s not enough reason by itself to surrendered No. 13 the rule requiring all Venezuelan shortstops wear No. 13 trumped it.

What will Blevins return in? Only a guess but 15 is available now that Bob Geren is going.

43In other news the Mets have invited Buddy Carlyle to go after a third assignment with the team and possibly, a third uni number. He’s been 44 then 43 so far.

 

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Abra-Cabrera

Interesting day out in Nashville, no?

18No sooner had Ben Zobrist left the Mets at the altar they turn around and score with a lookalike in Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker, then go out and buy another infielder, Asdrubal Cabrera.

Interestingly enough, Walker, like Zobrist, is a longtime wearer of the No. 18 jersey so little changes with regard to the prediction that coach Tim Teufel needs to find another number. The Cabrera signing in the meantime would seem to portend an end to Ruben Tejada‘s Mets career — a moment I mentally prepared for at least two years ago — which would free up Teufel’s playing-career No. 11 should he want it.

49Walker as you know cost the Mets their all-time No. 49, Jon Niese, in a deal that also essentially ends the Mets lifetime for their all-time No. 28, Daniel Murphy. I strongly associate the two of them (and Bobby Parnell, also a likely goner) as the best remainders of the Omar Minaya Era, all three adequate major league players jettisoned before they got too expensive.

13In their defense, that also describes Walker and Cabrera, a new middle infield combination likely to outhit their predecessors, and maybe out-field them too. I say “maybe” because I haven’t found much supporting Cabrera’s D even though I can’t recall ever having watched him closely myself, while there’s been rumblings from Pirates fans over Walker’s limited range at second base. If so, the Mets are giving me something less than I’d hoped while patching up the team: that is, give themselves a better chance through better fundamental play at key spots. At least they’ll hit more.

Cabrera you won’t be surprised to learn is a Venezuelan shortstop who favors No. 13: That jersey is technically available while Jerry “I broke my arm twice” Blevins tests the free agent market.

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Coach Creep, and How to Stop It

18Great points turning up in the comments in the below post from my furry alien friend Alf Tanner regarding potential numerical maneuverings in light of the Mets’ pursuit of Ben Zobrist, and the departure of bench coach Bob Geren, who announced last week he was taking a similar role with the Dodgers.

In both instances, it raises the issue of the increasing incidence in Metland of what I’m calling Coach Creep — the occupation of uni numbers that ought to belong to players among non-players.

15Geren, you may recall, wore No. 7 during his first season on Terry Collins’ staff in 2014 – a decision that we learned inadvertently blocked the preferred jersey of young catcher Travis d’Arnaud upon his promotion later that year. d’Arnaud, as we know, was issued 15 instead until arranging a swap with Geren before the 2015 season.

30Only that, as Alf correctly points out, may only have kicked the can. Michael Conforto was wearing 15 at Class AA Binghamton when he was recalled in July only to find the same coach squatting on that number so Conforto took the awkward 30 instead. Conforto, as we know, is no Josh Thole and is on Switch Watch as we approach Spring Training.

6It’s not just Geren, neither. Darrell Ceciliani and Eric Young Jr. were each assigned No. 1 last year — despite being obvious No. 6’s — in part because assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler took that number. Come on, Pat. Leave the single digits for the guys on the field. Why is Dario Alvarez wearing 68 and Germen Gonzalez taking 71? In part, it’s because Ricky Bones and Tom Goodwin occupy 25 and 26, respectively.

And now that the Mets are in pursuit of a noted No. 18 in Ben Zobrist, another coach, Tim Teufel, is blocking the way.

As Alf says, let’s allow the manager to choose his own outfit: Terry Collins for the record selected 10 as a tribute to Jim Leland, doncha know, and get the coaches back where they belong, dutifully occupying the 50s.

 

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Without 28

28I’m not going to lie and say Daniel Murphy was ever my favorite Met, but there’s no denying his Met-ness.

Now that it looks like his career with the Mets has come to an end Murphy departs having accounted for more than one-fourth of all games ever played by a guy wearing No. 28 — nearly 40% among position players. His lead over the next most active 28, John Milner, is exactly 162 games and almost 1,000 at-bats.

No Met 28 had any more hits, runs scored, doubles, triples, RBI and stolen bases than Murphy (Milner had more home runs); none were a bigger force in the postseason; no player made you crazier behind brilliant and brilliantly awful plays than Murphy.

52Now that Murphy has officially declined a “qualifying offer,” and it appears as though Yoenis Cespedes is going away too (thanks, and, uh, see ya around, Yo), remaking the interior of the Mets is a priority for the offseason. I don’t think it’s a radical of me to suggest the Mets look to do so with an eye on preventing the kind of up-the-middle sloppiness that doomed them to a deserving humiliation in the World Series (a friend described the Mets’ play against Kansas City as a “dog’s breakfast.”)

My opinion on the best way of going about things could change still but how about we move Wilmer Flores to second base, sign free agent Denard Span, and trade with the Red Sox for shortstop Xander Bogaerts? If and when Dilson Hererra forces his way up, Flores becomes the New Muprhy: Filling in at second, third and (if necessary) short.

Span — at least when healthy — is a nice player who can complement Lagares (he bats left, reaches base exceptionally well, steals bases).

2The Bogaerts part of my plan I admit is a bit of a reach, and might mean parting with Matt Harvey, but 22 year old shortstops like him don’t grow on trees. And it might be more realistic than the Matt-Harvey-for-Mookie-Betts talk out there, as much sense as that makes if only to acquire a Mookie.

Conflict in the making: Both Bogaerts and Span wear No. 2.

Ian Desmond, who could replace Murphy’s offense easily and improve the defense at short, is another possibility if you can’t part with the cost of acquiring a guy by trade.

46I warned you guys about Tyler Clippard, who wound up pretty much like all 46s do, but all the same bullpen upgrades should hardly ever be a priority. I suppose there’s an opportunity to add a few arms to the mix, but there almost always is.

10Congrats to Terry Collins on the new deal, I’m shocked he ever made it this far but he’s grown on me: Complaints about bullpen management come with every guy, but in general I haven’t felt like Terry gives up anything strategically to the other team’s manager, and in the case of the Nationals he beat them badly. As noted above I’d like to see his teams get a little better at the little things, and hope he’ll be held accountable when they don’t.

Your thoughts on the offseason?

 

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The Better Team Won

broom

Look, any way a Mets team gets to a World Series is just fine with me, but wanted to remark for posterity how convincing an expression of “may the better team win” this club has demonstrated in these playoffs. We withstood doubleshots of Kershaw and Greinke and a cheapshot from Utley and marched on ahead; and have now beaten the Cubs so thoroughly, in every aspect of the game, there’s just no ambiguity about it: The Mets are the best team in the National League in 2015.

Soak that in.

28Readers will surely know I’ve never been Daniel Murphy’s biggest Met supporter, but would never deny his overwhelming Met-ness, and couldn’t be any happier for him or more in awe of his performance. He’s outsmarting the other guys now? Keep it up! And what of David Wright? The play I’m going to remember from Game 4 was that fantastic catch with the bases loaded that had to have all but killed whatever feint beat remained in the hearts of Wrigleyville. From a guy who missed nearly the entire year with a back injury and is the only remaining member of the last Mets team to play an NLCS. Jon Niese with a big strikeout in Game 2. Duda and d’Arnaud. 48Flores driving it into the gaps. Granderson leading off. Nieuwenhuis and Lagares. Syndergaard, Familia and Harvey blowing guys away, and deGrom — counting the postseason, now the Mets’ winningest 48 ever — destroying them without his best stuff.

Fifteen years ago I rooted with everything I had but was never convinced we had the best team in the tournament, much less the Series. The ’06 juggernaut for all its potential played its way out. We need to go back 29 years, until… Yup.

So congrats Mets, and congrats to all of us who’ve hung in there. Especially us geeks who visit this site, this incredibly will be the second Mets World Series in the MBTN Era. More news on that soon, btw. Let’s Go Mets!

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