Great 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.
Geren, 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.
Only 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.
It’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.