Archive for Uni Controversies

Bauerless, Not Powerless

It’s easy to make an argument the Mets dodged a bullet this week when the arrogant free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer left them at the altar and agreed instead to a deal with the Dodgers that’d make him the best-paid player in the game and grants him multiple opt-outs should he want to try to pull this clown show again either of the next two years.

And they did given all that baggage but I’d certainly like to see another Cy Young winner on the staff, given what they were evidently willing to part with and the abuse they were willing to withstand should they have added yet another guy without the common sense to behave himself on the Internet, even if it comes off a giant douchy act.

Where to from here? There’s free agent Jake Odorizzi out there still, a 15-game winner in 2019 who missed most of last season after taking a line drive off the No. 12 on the front of his Twins jersey. There’s money in the bank were the Mets to lock in guys like Conforto and Lindor, or buy a free agent center fielder, and flexibility were they to take advantage of the Wrigleyville’s teardown and acquire Kris Bryant in a trade. It’s not like the Cardinals’ addition of Arenado is going to increase their chances this time.

I’m expecting something, is what I’m saying.

Catching up on recent moves that didn’t accompany all that much hype the Mets traded with Miami for pitcher Jordan Yamamoto, a young righty starter with terrible big-league numbers but the kind of curveball spin rate that gets the geeks excited. Yamamoto is from Hawaii and naturally wears No. 50 in the tradition of Sid Fernandez and Benny Agbayani. Adding Yamamoto to the 40-man roster also cleared the Mets of a seeming controversy with infielder Robel Garcia who was issued a placeholder 00, waived and subsequently claimed by the Angels.

Miguel Castro, the kind of down-on-his-luck would-be relief ace the Mets always seem to scoop up in the hopes he’ll improve next year (see AJ Ramos) wore No. 50 last year. He’s got that Brody stink and maybe he goes in my fantasy Kris Bryant trade which is built around the $16 million the Cubs save by taking JD Davis, and a friend suggests, taking a real prospect for Kyle Hendricks. They can even have Jordan Yamamoto in that case. Bryant by the way wears No. 17 with the Cubs and will test the quiet mothballing of those figures here should he arrive.

I dunno what to say about another black eye for the organization re: Mickey but in retrospect I was far too kind to a guy who hardly ever won a game with X’s and O’s, fished with Donald Trump Jr., batted the Mets out of order, blew up at reporters, couldn’t say “I’m sorry,” and finally, was a creep.

 

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Sprung

Can’t blame Jeff Wilpon for this one, but the Mets have another black eye and brain drain to deal with after it was revealed that the newly arrived and highly touted general manager Jared Porter was also a creepy cocktographer, a woman harrasser, and a media abuser.

Look there are only 30 MLB general manager jobs in the world, so it’s to the new leadership’s shame they didn’t manage to sniff out what was evidently something of a known secret–if not in the details, then perhaps in Porter’s character, interpersonal relationships or habits. I didn’t even know what Porter looked like till that Zoom call a few weeks back but I have to confess I was somewhat surprised to see he looked like a guy who probably had a lot of beer in his fridge. Then again, I’m not in HR. And to its credit, management didn’t waste time feeling out what the reaction would be before acting decisively to whack Porter.

Now the team that initially said it wanted two top-notch baseball brains to lead the organization under CEO Sandy Alderson has none, and it’s on Sandy to go sign or trade for a center fielder other than George Springer who’s apparently headed to the Blue Jays.

Fortunately for the Mets there are options still, and with Springer off the board and February approaching you have to figure the remaining job-seekers will find new offices shortly. Speculation is the club could sign free agents Jackie Bradley Jr., whose worn three different numbers over his seasons in Boston (44, 25 and 19, all of which are already assigned to Mets currently), or Albert Almora (No. 5 with the Cubs, out of circulation), and maybe even swing a deal for Lorenzo Cain (No. 6 on the Brewers, also unavailable). We also know Sandy has interest in free-agent reliever Brad Hand and that Porter until yesterday morning was investigating pitcher Trevor Williams, most recently No. 34 on the Pirates.

Porter also managed earlier this week to swing a deal with San Diego for lefty Joey Lucchesi, who will also shop for a new uni number having worn the retired 37 as a Friar, and could hasten the end of Steven Matz’ long run in Metville.

Finally on this day of new beginnings let’s give a shout-out to Ollie Perez, Brooks Pounders, Dallas Green, young Neil Allen and the rest of the 46 Club. Go Hens!

 

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65witching It Up

While the Mets are busy signing their arbitration-eligible guys and pursuing even more relief pitchers (keep your eyes peeled for that METS GIVE HAND JOB headline in the Post), some of their guys are trying on new uni numbers.

Some of the activity relates to new reliever Trevor May who evidently will retain the same No. 65 he wore in his previous job with the Twins. That means a switch for newly re-signed bullpenner Robert Gsellman, who rosters now list in 44. I’ve railed against offensive-line numbers for major leaguers for some time now but there was something appropriate to the 65 hanging beneath the broad shoulders of Gsellman, as the digits mimic the unique spelling on the name above them: 65ELLMAN, right? It’s a gshame. On the other hand, Gsellman could probably stand to switch his career up in a lot of ways. Gselly inherits 44 from two-time Met (and three-time ex-Met), Rene Rivera who wore 44 briefly last year, and before than in 2016. Rivera also hung around their minors in 2008 but never appeared.

In a downward move that makes more sense, David Peterson has dropped 54 digits from his ridiculous 77 he wore last season and is now listed as 23. We’ll have to check and see what that means for coach Brian Schneider, who wore it last year and appears currently numberless on the roster.

Catching up on additional 40-man roster stuff, the Mets.com roster lists James McCann as expected in No. 33; utilityman Robel Garcia in 00; and the curiously acquired slugger Jose Martinez as 53, while pitching candidates Jacob Barnes, Sam McWilliams and Stephen Tarpley along with catcher Patrick Mazeika, remain unassigned. If these seeming assignments hold, look for pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and Mascot Mr Met to have a new assignments. And Hefner joins Schneider, Jeremy Accardo (59 reassigned to Carlos Carrasco), Dave Jauss, and Tony Tarasco as coaches awaiting new assignments.

Also on the radar: some guys who had assignments last year (Corey Oswalt 55, Drew Smith 62, Ali Sanchez 70) appear unassigned. I do hope this means more deflation.

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Catching Up

Wow. So quite a bit has happened since we last caught up. As I’d mentioned I’d sort of involuntarily “opted out” of the fraudulent 2020 season that while deeply unsatisfying in so many ways, is already one of the most consequential for us in orange-and-blue (and in red-white-and-blue too, but that’s another regrettable nightmare that mercifully appears very close to an end as well).

Let’s recap a few things I missed real quick

Goodbye Fred and Jeff

Beat it. I mean, GTFO.

I’m not overstating it even a little bit when I say the Wilpons’ stunning incompetence and inability to learn despite making the same mistakes over and over and over again had so badly damaged my enthusiasm for the club I was losing interest in something as natural and enjoyable as this goofy little project. I understand that there’s no sure bets in life and financial realities interfere from time to time, but it was never too big an ask that an owner avoid actively making the process of rooting for a team you love an exercise in futility and self-hatred. How hard could it be to sell the Mets to Mets fans?

Don’t answer till you consider these guys not once but twice failed to execute a sale of the team (remember the Einhorn debacle?) mainly because they couldn’t NOT interfere. I’ve been re-reading THE WORST TEAM MONEY COULD BUY recently and reminded that Fred was screwing things up back then too, a pattern that would continue for nearly 30 years. Stunning! Most recently the stealth coup that landed the Mets most recently with a green chair-throwing general manager who promptly mortgaged the future for a steroid case, let a terrific starting pitcher walk to a division rival, screwed up his only chance to name a field manager, and leaves a worse team than he found.

Thank goodness Steve Cohen had the sense to give Sandy Alderson a chance to rescue the team once again. Did you notice Terry Collins and Omar Minaya are also out? What a turn of events. I’m not on the Cohen Crack like everyone else quite yet but his performance so far indicates he’s at least diagnosed many of the same problems we fans have (how hard could that be?) and I’m confident things cannot possibly get worse than they’ve been.

Other Comings and Goings

Sandy and his non-existent front-office team so far have signed a decent relief pitcher (Minnesota’s Trevor May, who seems like a swell guy and as mid-career bullpenners go, not a bad shot), invited a bunch of intriguing guys to Spring Training (OF Mallex Smith, SS Jose Peraza, RP Arodys Vizcaino) and picked up a lottery ticket or two including a 6-foot-7 minor league reliever called Sam McWilliams. The qualified offer to Marcus Stroman was accepted raising the possibility they’ll have a No. 0 after all. This week they got contracts done or offered to fringe 40-man guys that by now include the exasperating Omar-Era Holdover Steven Matz and outfielder Guillermo Heredia whose garbage-time arrival in September wasn’t even noted in our numerical rosters till just now. Sorry about that. He wears 15. Brian Dozier, whom I’d forgotten was ever a Met, no longer does. Chasen Shreve got whacked. So did Paul Sewald.

May by the way wore 65 in Minnesota, which belongs to the damaged Robert Gsellman.

And Now

The Mets have lots of possibilities again. Brodie didn’t necessarily screw up everything beyond what ought to have been decent chances this year and last, thanks mainly to the core assembled by his predecessor and successor.

Cohen has said he’d open up the checkbook so it seems likely they could add a pitcher like Trevor Bauer, reassembling a slate of strong starting pitching they had until Brodie interfered (and possibly interiting the No. 47 surrendered by Shreve). George Springer is available as is uni No. 4, uselessly occupied by Jed Lowrie for two friggin years. J.T. Realmuto (no. 10 in Philadelphia) might catch on, but someone new will at any rate.

We could see some new coaches (were the Wilpons so dumb that thinking did a hitting coach could work from home?) and front office personnel, a trade or two. I’ll try and pay attention.

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Bam Bam

Thanks to Faith & Fear’s Greg Prince for pointing out the other day that with Miguel Castro in town and wearing No. 50, the Mets had quietly assigned coach Jeremy Accardo with No. 59. Great, I thought, this solves another mystery–only to discover that seemingly revealed another conflict.

Only this conflict I apparently created on my own.

Apologies if you used my data to order your Hensley Muelens jerseys and shirseys, but the bench coach was and had been listed as 58 since his arrival and not the 59 I mistyped when entering into the database. This was even reflected in our previous posts on the topic, so sorry for overlooking that. We’re up to date!

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King Jeremy the Wicked

I confess not to like seeing Todd Frazier in any uniform with Mets on the front, never mind what’s on the back.  And I don’t mean it that way. What I mean is, I don’t like seeing Todd Frazier hit. His swing has to be the most aesthetically displeasing in the game, perhaps even, the ugliest swing in team history. Leaning over, one handed, I don’t even know how he does that. Can you think of one any worse?

Defensively, Frazier is perfectly easy to watch by the way. I’m surprised as many of you guys are that he’s wearing 33 but as we suspected below, Billy Hamilton was designated for assignment and so I’d expect Frazier to get back 21 soon (I spotted him in the dugout yesterday still wearing 33). Erasmo Ramirez, a journeyman reliever whom I believe was also hanging around in spring training, has been called up and issued No. 43. If and when he appears it Ramirez would be the first Nicaraguan ever to join the Mets.

In the meantime I’m still trying to figure out the implications of Miguel Castro’s issuance of No. 50. The Mets roster still lists pitching strategist Jeremy Accardo as wearing 50 but interestingly, sharp-eyed MBTN reader Chris points out the same roster now lists Jeremy Hefner in 93 and not 53. Did the Jeremys switch up and not tell anyone? Since I’ve rarely actually seen these guys in uniform (they wear, you know, uni pants and undershirts for the most part) I don’t know. For now it interferes with the data.

Robinson Chirinos was not issued 61 but 26, it turns out. You saw Ariel Jurado soil the No. 49 jersey the other day, he’s out now along with Hunter Strickland, again.

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Proof of Being 21

It’s a little more than an hour before game time in Baltimore and the tension is thick.

With Todd Frazier reacquired and Billy Hamilton still on board (I think) who wears No. 21?

The Mets quietly added Frazier, along with his Texas teammate Robinson Chirinos and Baltimore reliever Miguel Castro, in deadline deals that illustrate that even unaccomplished, old and/or boring guys might make a difference on a Mets club that can do little right so far this year and still acts like it might be a playoff team.

Frazier was something a guy to be endured and not necessarily welcomed back but hopefully represents some right-handed power we’d been missing since Cespedes quit and Pete Alonso and Wilson Ramos are taking the year off more stealthily, and JD Davis hurt. Frazier, as I’ve probably noted here before has one of the ugliest swings in club history but I cannot deny he’s a pro. The Mets list both Frazier and Hamilton in 21, the latter guy would seem to me to be on the verge of release, having encountered but not delivered on more than a few Rajai Davis Moments. Hammy could alternatively slide down to 15 or 7.

Chirinos, a 36-year-old catcher and career .231 hitter, I suppose is seen as an upgrade on Ali Sanchez or Tomas Nido as a reserve but I’m already confusing him with Ramon Castro and Rod Barajas and any number of chunky Latin backstops who’ve passed through. Wearing the No. 61 jersey most recently belonging to DFA’ed pitcher Walker Lockett could distinguish him; having never traded Kevin Plawecki for Lockett in the first place might have helped more.

And not to continue with the stereotypes but Miguel Castro–acquired for a legit lefthanded starting prospect, Kevin Smith–looks like your standard crooked-cap-wearing reliever with good strikeout figures and lousy stats otherwise. At 25 and with a contract that keep him on the club for another year cheaply, he’ll get a look and could still succeed, and also, could not. Castro gets No. 50 and another Uni Controversy given tat’s the number also assigned to Jeremy Accardo, the pitching coach. Stay tuned!

Finally I have no idea who the guy starting tonight is other than his name, Ariel Jurado. The Mets acquired him from Texas a few weeks ago when I was out of town and he’s presumably been hanging out in Brooklyn with the Sewalds, the Stricklands and the Locketts. Jurado, a young Panamanian righty with a 5.85 career ERA over part6s of two seasons with the Rangers, gets No. 49, last worn these parts by the fake-news relief prospect Tyler Bashlor.

Let’s Go Islanders, I mean, Mets!

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Master of His Domain

If he can get to opening day before being traded to another club, it looks like Dominic Smith will do so with a new number.

Readers and attendees of yesterday’s Fan Fest at Citifield reported seeing baseball’s most popular reserve first baseman sporting No. 2. That’s evidently because newly arrived Rick Porcello took 22 from him, although as relayed by Matt in the comments in the below section:

I wonder why Porcello just didn’t take #21. He switched to it in Detroit and wore it in college. I remember Dom got #22 from former coach Tom Goodwin. Seemed like he would be reluctant to give up his number. Maybe Porcello bought him a nice Rolex.

There’s conflicting “reports” out there about how much tinkering the Mets may still do with this club; it seems that guys like Smith, Yoenis Cespedes, Brandon Nimmo, Jed Lowrie are being thrown about, though if you ask me there better be Nolan Arenado as the end result if they are going cough these guys up.

Smith would be the first No. 2 since Joe Panik departed for Toronto.

Also heard from longtime reader Jason, who patches the following holes in the upcoming roster: Steven Gonsalves 59; Andres Gimenez 60; Tomas Szapucki 63; Jordan Humpheys 64; and Tim David Petersen 77. Also, bench coach Hensley Muelens was spotted wearing 58 (thanks Gene).

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Coming Up Rojas

Since our last update you must be well aware the Mets were secondary effect victims of the Houston cheating scandal and so beat Carlos Beltran out of town like a bat into a trash can. As you know I wasn’t exactly on board with Beltran to start with, so while it all looks wobbly for the Mets the pivot to Luis Rojas probably isn’t all bad. I could see a small danger in providing a rookie skipper so little time to prepare for his first Spring Training–I tend to believe that smooth springs are a sign, if not the only sign, of good things ahead–and am aware of how poor starts in both his years were among the things that doomed Mickey Callaway’s clubs so count me as cautiously optimistic.

Rojas has good lineage–he’s among 10 children of Felipe Alou (he’s a product of his 3rd of his four wives, making him a half-brother of one-time Met Moises Alou, a nephew of one-time Met Jesus Alou, and a half-cousin of one-time Met Mel Rojas, himself a half-brother to Felipe, Jesus and Matty). “Alou” was Felipe’s mother’s last name and was “assigned” that when his father’s surname Rojas was lost in translation, yet passed along to Luis. Mel took his father’s name as he was born of a different mother than the Alou siblings. Got that?

Now, what number will he wear? Rojas in previous outings with the Mets has worn No. 60 as a guest coach and last year, a “quality control” coach. A look at the developing Mets roster would suggest however that 60 is assigned currently to both Rojas and assistant pitching coach Jeremy Accardo. We’ll figure it all out soon I hope.

Speaking now of the roster, that’s also coming into play… a little. In addition to Rojas coaches Jeremy Hefner, Tony DeFrancesco and Hensely Muelens have yet to be assigned, as have new 40-man arrivals Stephen Gonsalves, Jordan Humpheys, Thomas Szapuki, Ali Sanchez and Andres Gimenez, so I’ll stop short of publishing a full spring roster quite yet.

But I am noting the following new assignments: Jake Marisnick in 16; Rick Porcello in 22, conflicting for the moment with Dom Smith; and Michael Wacha in 45. Hopefully they they figure it all out by Spring Training.

*

Do you collect scorecards? I’m teaming up with a longtime MBTN benefactor to inventory our source materials (for me, all pre-1999 as this site has kept track since then). The collection, inspired in part by the Andy Hassler mystery mentioned below, has already turned up some very interesting new wrinkles which I’ll share with you all soon, one of them about the newest Met Hall of Famer, Jon Matlack. If you have old scorecards and want to help, do me a big solid and shoot the roster page, note the date to the best of your ability and send it in!

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Marcus Down As Undecided

Marcus Stroman, who already made club history by becoming the team’s first pitcher to wear a single-digit uni number, will be making more news soon.

Stroman says will no longer wear the No. 7 he was issued upon his trade to the Mets from Toronto in July, saying that he didn’t feel right playing in the same uni as a childhood idol Jose Reyes.

Obviously we all want Stroman to wear what he’s most comfortable wearing but in the bigger picture I’m wondering whether this notion of respect has gone completely overboard. It has always seemed to me that you could argue just as persuasively that wearing the same number your idol did on the same field would be the ultimate way to pay respect, and that pointedly avoiding a number for that reason in particular, while admirable, is an awfully passive statement in practice.

I’m also left to wonder what this will mean to the newly respect-sensitive Mets and their plans to take an untold batch of jerseys out of circulation in coming years. This began only recently with the deserving but curious announcement they would hang up 36 next year. Who knows if the Mets stay on task with this, but you figure such an approach would have to include Ed Kranepool at some point, a different No. 7.

Until then though, you wonder if the club will now have the stones to issue anybody No. 7 as long as Stroman is on board. Did he inadvertently just mothball No. 7 teamwide? Let’s wait and see.

Let’s also wait and see what Stroman finally settles on. Will he continue to buck tradition and take a single digit? If so there’s but two choices and a similarly wobbly third: Zero is available now; 2 belongs to the free-agent-to-be-but-I’d-sure-love-to-be-back infielder Joe Panik; and then there’s 8, which has gone unissued now for 17 years (!!) as the Mets seemingly make up their minds on Gary Carter’s legacy (If you’re listening Mets, don’t do it. Name the St. Lucie minor league team the Kids instead. Give out a Gary Carter Award every year for the team’s best citizen. Don’t take out numbers for guys with 2 good years on the club and more concrete legacies elsewhere).

Stroman’s Toronto No. 6 belongs now to Jeff McNeil and Stroman said he wouldn’t ask for that. I’ll bet you a beer he’s the next 0.

 

 

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