Archive for Met Mysteries

Net Gains

19As you probably know by now the Mets have issued the newly arriving Jay Bruce No. 19 and have allowed Jon Niese to take back the No. 49 he wore in his last go-round with the club.

49Bruce, who is scheduled to start in right field and bat third, will become the 36th guy to wear 19 for the Mets and has an outside shot of overtaking Roger Cedeno as the jersey’s most prolific home run hitter by the end of the year. (Roger had 18 dingers over three seasons as a Met 19).

66Also Tuesday, the Mets placed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (13) and outfielder Justin Ruggiano (1) on the disabled list, demoted bullpenner Seth Lugo (67) and recalled utilityman Ty Kelly (56) and reliever Josh Edgin (66). Edgin is making his first reappearance in a Mets jersey since September of 2014.

I don’t normally keep track of this stuff, but it is notable the club is adding a combined 190 in combined uni numbers while subtracting just 90 — a net gain of 100 that has to rank as one of the largest one-day swings in club history.

Here’s to more big swings from the new guys.

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How to Dress Jose Reyes

7So if the reports are accurate maligned former prodigy Jose Reyes could be rejoining the Mets as soon as today. While I’d naturally prefer my guys not to be coming off disciplinary suspensions, and I would hope his equity not put undue pressure on teammates, I can see where the prospect of a proven speedy contact hitter who can play multiple infield positions at a bargain price could help the team. I would hope also that just like Lenny Randle in 1977, the club is sensible enough to keep Reyes on a short behavioral leash while allowing him to do himself the favor of re-establishing a derailed career. If he can play, it’s all good.

No shortage of speculation as to his uniform number is out there, but I cannot see where it is fair or appropriate for Travis d’Arnaud to put aside a personally selected No. 7 to make room for Reyes, particularly with Reyes’ shady recent legal tangles and especially considering the way he left the club in 2009 (2011, thx, Dave). He was right go, don’t get me wrong, but he took off for Miami as though he were stealing second base.

77Question is what then? Back in 2003, when Reyes was a but a Met puppy, the Mets (idiotically, it turned out) signed the Japanese free agent Kaz Matsui to a contract. Matsui wore 7 in Japan and some bright people suggested then they creatively solve the issue by giving Matsui 77. They didn’t. Things would have been different, I tell you.

46So I can see the Mets going that route, maybe. Perhaps, though, presenting Reyes with 77 (or even 07) is too larded with tender forethought to be appropriate for a guy coming off a wife-beating rap. I am coming around to the idea it would be best if Reyes gets a number that sends the message that the Mets aren’t doing Jose Reyes any favors beyond the opportunity to wear a uniform. Any uniform. Give him No. 46. It’ll all be a weird scene anyway.

1Lots of speculation too about unoccupied single digits of 1 and 9 but I’m coming around to suspect those might be held out of the rotation with a purpose. Shortstop prospect Amed Rosario is racing up the ladder and bringing No. 1 with him: You may have seen he debuted with Class AA Binghamton just this week and like of all people Jose Reyes, could be a big-league shortstop by the age of 21. I’m less certain of No. 9’s future but suspect we could see Brandon Nimmo wearing it before long.

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Just Our Luck

13Don’t look now but Jerry Blevins may be wearing No. 13 after all.

An article in Sunday’s NY Post says as much, which would conflict with some published rosters (listing the lefty wearing 39) and Blevins own tweets, which suggested Asdrubal Cabrera — a 13 for most his career with the Indians and Rays who signed ahead of the free agent Blevins — had the right to the number before him. In fact, the only time Cabrera hasn’t worn 13 was in 2014: When he was teammates with Blevins in Washington.

This also is another reminder why we shouldn’t put too much stock in what’s said and done in the offseason.

The same paper by the way has a terrific Q&A with Sandy Alderson in which the GM confesses to a taste for the dramatic, in the context of good timing. One of the many things I admire about Alderson is that so often there’s a undercurrent of orchestration to the things the club does. Without putting too fine a point on it, he’s really a storyteller.

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Updated 2016 Roster

Big thanks to Kieran for his help filling in the roster with NRI assignments. Notable: Buddy Carlyle re-taking the 44 he wore in 2014 but lost to John Mayberry last year. Danny Muno, the first guy called up last year in 16, drops all the way to 81. Still awaiting the coaching assignments for Dan Warthen and Tom Goodwin as well as new bench coach Dick Scott. Late NRI additions Roger Bernandina (1?) and Raywilly Gomez (00??) also unaccounted for.

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 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 Buddy Carlyle (NRI) 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 Rafael Montero
51 Jim Henderson (NRI) was Jack Leathersich
52 Yoenis Cespedes
53 Dave Racaniello (Bullpen catcher)
54* Stolmy Pimental (NRI) was Tim Stauffer
55* Ty Kelly (NRI) was Kelly Johnson
56* Jeff Walters was Matt Reynolds (DNP), Scott Rice
57 Kevin Long? was Long
58 Jenrry Mejia
59* Antonio Bastardo was Dan Warthen
60 Duane Below (NRI)
61 Marc Krauss (NRI)
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* Nevin Ashley (NRI)
71* Xorge Carillo (NRI)
72* Gavin Cecchini (NRI)
73* Travis Taijeron (NRI)
74* Dominick Smith (NRI)
75* T.J. Rivera (NRI)
76* Chase Bradford (NRI)
77 Brandon Nimmo
78 Eric Langill (Bullpen catcher)
79* Paul Sewald (NRI)
80* Zack Thornton (NRI)
81* Danny Muno (NRI)
82-99 Unassigned
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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 alertly 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 Rafael 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 Matt Reynolds (DNP), 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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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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