Archive for Met Mysteries

Two for 2

2Well the moment is upon us and someone’s going to pay the price for the Mets having played fast and loose with uni number assignments.

Dilson Herrera, along with Logan Verrett and Johnny Monell, were recalled following this afternoon’s smashing victory at Washington. While we can expect Verrett to wear 35 and Monell 19 as they had earlier this year, Hererra will be wearing something. That’s because the Mets rather inelegantly issued Juan Uribe Herrera’s No. 2 while Herrera was away rehabbing and playing for AAA Las Vegas.

The Mets roster as of late last Monday night, still lists the two of them wearing No. 2.

As noted previously, I’ve given this matter some thought and suggested
0 could be a solution. Other swipes from the uncalled-for, like Vic Black’s 38 or Danny Muno’s 16, are also possibilities. Then I realized poor Dilson also wore 2 in Las Vegas this season and wondered if he wouldn’t pull a Benito Santiago and alight in 02. Santiago, for you youngins, was a catcher with San Diego who famously rocked No. 09 — he wanted space between the digits for the strap holding his chest protector.

Great win today!

 

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Standing O

44Newly arriving reliever Eric O’Flaherty is reportedly suiting up in No. 44 and as my pal Greg says, let’s hope he’s tougher on lefties than his predecessor in that jersey, the late John Mayberry Jr.

To make room for Flaherty, who was acquired last night for a Player To Be Named Later, the Mets designated Alex Torres and his gigantic hat for assignment, a move freeing up No. 54 for the next guy who wants it.

35In the meantime, keep your eye on the Mets’ starting rotation, which is expected at this time to slot in a 6th starter next time around. Speculation in the radio booth last night said it could be minor league teammates Dillon Gee and Logan Verrett competing for that — and next issue of No. 35. I’d guess at this point that Gee has the inside the inside track to the start, while Verrett, as a member of the 40-man roister, has a rightful claim on 35. But still it would weird to see Gee wearing 54. Baseball’s a funny game.

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Goggle Up

Don’t look now but the Mets are trying to make the playoffs.

36On Monday they dealt with Oakland for veteran reliever Tyler Clippard, who I’ve hated ever since he Subway Seriesed us as a punk Yankee rookie way back when, and on through several excellent years with the Nationals. Now that he’s on our side I’m naturally terrified he’ll continue to screw us only in a different way but I get that he’d be a good addition to the team, particularly seeing Parnell, Alex Torres and Familia struggle in recent games and Jenrry Mejia be unavailable for the playoffs. He came at the cost of Casey Meisner, a minor league project who might one day make us look bad but is no concern at the present.

The concern as always is what uni number Clippard will wear with his geeky goggles, seeing as his customary 36 is occupied by Sean Gilmartin and his previous No. 19 belonging to recently demoted catcher Johnny Monell.

44But as we’ve seen twice this year already, there’s little they won’t do. There was the Logan Verrett 35 thing, then more recently they simply gave No. 2 to Juan Uribe without even notifying Dilson Hererra (that we know of). So the prediction here, suggested by a reader below actually, is that Clippard gets 36 and Gilmartin takes the vacant 44. Playoffs is serious business!

Woke up this morning to the stunning Tulowitzski news and allowed visions of a Jose Reyes reunion to colonize my mind for a bit but I don’t think it can, or necessarily should, happen. How about Lagares and a pitching prospect to Milwaukee for Carlos Gomez?

Later afternoon update — Clippard’s been issued No. 46. So much for more vicious speculation.

 

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Take a Number

55No sooner had I suspected Sandy would deal than he dealt: Two longshot minor league pitchers to the Braves for veteran journeymen Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. While the pundits figure out what that means to a lineup desperate to corral them (bench Flores? Duda?! Trade Murphy? … yes to all three?!?) a still larger challenge could be figuring out where they’ll fit within the confines of a decreasing supply of viable uni numbers.

44Assuming every man on the 40-man roster retains their assignment, and coaches and existing players don’t switch, and the mothballed numbers (8, 17, 24) remain in limbo the available choices are 0, 00, 44, 46, 55-57, 60-61, 63, 65, and 67-99. That’s not a whole lot of variety!  (44 by the way was just torn from the back of disappointing alleged lefty-masher John Mayberry Jr., who was released to make roster space for the incoming duo).

The histories of Uribe and Johnson give us little to go on: I associate Uribe with No. 5 from his time with the Giants; and Johnson, I have no idea. The Mets will be his 9th team in a 10-year career. If it’s up to me I outfit them in 0 and 00, though I don’t know if that will fly with Mr. Met. More like, I predict one of then (Uribe) takes the No. 6 currently belonging to assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler, Johnson takes 44, and Roessler moves to something like 55. Or maybe Uribe takes 55? What’s your prediction?

Kelly Johnson, by the way, will be the 8th Johnson (and 3rd Kelly) in Mets history, tying the Jones boys (Barry, Bobby J, Bobby M, Chris, Cleon, Randy, Ross and Roadblock) for the all-time Mets surname record. The Johnsons now include Kelly, Ben, Bob L, Bob W, Howard, Lance, Mark and Rob, not to mention the manager Davey.

Los Siete Hernandezes (Anderson, Keith, Livan, Luis, Manny, Orlando and Roberto) are third.

 

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Sign Here

Just for fun late Saturday night I whipped up this here banner based on Scott M. X. Turner’s site logo design and on Sunday for the first time ever marched in the Banner Day parade. I probably would not have done this had I not already had tickets to the game, but the Mets somehow knew that and so barely bothered to promote the tradition; I only heard about the event from reading other blogs. The entire thing was like a rumor.

I’m sure the extra labor involved with leading the fans through the stadium’s guts while keeping everything else on schedule — I’m sure it was no easy task — held little appeal for the organization, as did the potential for appearing that they might actually encourage or condone graphic commentary from the peanut gallery. I’m not even sure they let you in with a sign on any other day anymore.

The late Karl Ehrhardt , the “Sign Man” our banner honored, is about as subversive as they come in that respect; part of the appeal of his wry commentary was that it held the potential to shame or embarrass the club or its players when they deserved it: It was a unique means of live commentary practiced today by millions of less clever folks on Twitter. Ehrhardt in a 2006 interview said he felt the organization turned against his schtick upon the changing of team ownership in the 80s: Clearly the Mets still today retain little affection for such Mad Men-era aspects of their organization but I’m glad to have played a small part in keeping it alive. Mets staff by the way were all great. The usher way up near our section 535 seats even let us tape the thing on the railing at gametime.

Today we’re awaiting new of what jersey they will slap on newly arriving relief prospect Akeel Morris, who’s making a flying leap to Flushing from Class A St. Lucie so as to provide extra bullpen depth after a taxing weekend. Morris was assigned 64 during Spring Training this year.

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Dar-rell

9Word came following last night’s harrowing win that Las Vegas outfielder and longtime personal fave Darrell Ceciliani was recalled and will be active for tonight’s game.

No word officially on who goes down yet but by means of a hint, Darrell is a lefthanded hitter capable of playing all three positions, a pretty good athlete and baserunner with a little bit of power but who strikes out more than you’d like to see, if not at Kirk Niuewenhuis levels.

I feel bad for Niuewy and am sure he has one of those hot streaks contained in his bat but the team can’t keep waiting for it to come around. Hopefully Kirk can avoid a waiver claim and get to work in AAA.

1That thing I said about being a Ceciliani fan is true by the way. I followed his progress through 5 minor league seasons as an adoptive parent at the Crane Pool Forum and know that observers think highly of his no-batting-gloves, all-out playing style. I’ve come to admire how he’s shrugged off a couple of injury-marred, disappointing seasons and 2 winters on the Rule 5 block and is now posting numbers that are almost as good as his promising debut season in Brooklyn all those years ago.

Ceciliani in fact wasn’t even invited to the big-league camp this year, although he made some appearances as a late-inning pinch hitter. At least once — I believe this was last spring training — he showed up wearing 0 but was also seen before wearing 93. At Vegas he wore 11, but carried other numbers in the minors.

If the Mets release or trade Nieuwenhuis I could see Ceciliani turn up in the vacated No. 9 but would agree with the commenters below that No. 1 looks like a good possibility. (Update: This is official!)

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Monell, Muno and the Mets

19Non-roster invitees seldomly push aside established guys during Spring Training but you wonder how tempted the Mets might be this year.

I’m thinking specifically of the reserve roles in the infield and behind the plate, where it would seem either one of Johnny Monell or Daniel Muno might not be a bad idea, given the unique makeup of the club otherwise.

I didn’t give much thought to Monell when the Mets acquired him as a minor league free agent in November. But his left-handed power and 393/433/750/1.183 line in a handful of Spring at-bats was intriguing enough to make me take a second look, only to discover that he’s a Met Legacy: His father, Johnny Sr., was an outfielder in the Mets system for six years in the 80s, reaching as high as Class AAA Tidewater. Johnny Jr. was also once drafted by the Mets but chose not to sign; his road here included cups of coffee with the Giants and Orioles.

From what I’ve read (and heard) defense isn’t Johnny’s strong suit and his very aggressive approach might not fit with the club’s philosophy, but, look: If he hits 200 points less than he’s doing now, remains a so-so defender, and still provides the occasional thump, you’ve got Anothny Recker, only a left-handed version, and given the Mets’ prevailing righthandedness, that might be a useful thing to have. Can he fake it as an emergency third baseman or outfielder? Maybe then you can carry both.

74The other guy on my mind is Muno, who snuck up on me by virtue of being assigned a Spring Training number (74) 10 digits higher than the one he had last year. Like Monell, Muno is a lefty (actually a switch-hitter) in a pack of righties vying for a backup infield job (Ruben Tejada, Matt Reynolds, Eric Campbell, etc). Daniel Murphy‘s injury could in fact exacerbate that need.

Muno’s also having a solid spring, hitting .400 although in a very small sample, and unlike Monell, is a guy whose approach at the plate is appropriately Sandy: A career .395 OBPer in four minor league seasons, and began to show some power last year with 14 home runs in Las Vegas. Plays three positions. Switch hits. Gets on base. That’s a good guy to have on your team. Trade in that lineman’s number for … how about the vacant No. 1.

Whether either of these guys would be worth risking a Recker or Tejada on simply to have in hand when the bell rings is something for the suits to decide but I would hope they’re thinking about it. I remain pretty bullish on the 2015 Mets.

 

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Now You Tell Us

Thank goodness I’m not paying attention at work today.

The d’Arnaud-to-7 story is old news already and although the Mets are insisting it goes down this way I still have doubts it’ll go down like this when the bell rings:

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.19.00 PM

 

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Is Travis d’Arnaud changing his shirt?

7Twitter caught fire this morning with reports that Travis d’Arnaud was changing his uniform number, from 15 to 7. While I haven’t seen official confirmation yet, it appears the source is an especially revealing e-commerce site: The team’s own order-your-own-‘official’-jersey offer (only $267.99!!).

51The drop-down has plenty more to say that’s not yet on the official roster page, including assignments for newcomers John Mayberry Jr. (44); Sean Gilmartin (36); Jack Leathersich (51); Steven Matz (32); and Noah Syndergaard (34). A few other guys on the 40-man are listed in 00, which we’ll assume are unassigned still — Akeel Morris and Gabriel Ynoa. (Leathersich is also listed in 00, while Hansel Robles isn’t listed at all. Neither are the gaggle of NRIs who typically get Spring assignments in the 60s, 70s and 80s).

15We may be jumping the gun on at least some of the actual assignments. If d’Arnaud is indeed changing to 7, we’d presume Mayberry would take the vacant 15, which he wore for several years with the Phillies, rather than 44, which technically still belongs to 2014 Met and 2015 non-roster invitee Buddy Carlyle. The switch to 7 would also require that bench coach Bob Geren changes into something else, not that that’s a big deal. We’ve also heard, from a reader, that incoming hitting coach Kevin Long will wear No. 30, but still have no confirmation of that.

The move to 7 will reignite a battle for the all-time lead in hits by a single uniform number: Though 7 and occupants Ed Kranepool and Jose Reyes maintains its longtime, all-time lead, Team 5 led by David Wright as of the end of last season had pulled to within 3 hits.

Typically we’re at the time of year when such info drops officially so we expect to see the roster populate soon and answer — at least for now — the burning questions.

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Rockie Horror Pitcher Show

2If the Mets really want Troy Tulowitzski, he ought to be theirs. And if the reports we’ve seen out there are any indication, I don’t think the hold-up ought to be whether or not Noah Syndergaard is included in such a deal, but rather, about how much of that $100+ million Tulo’s got coming to him will the Rockies be willing to kick in to get as much as Syndergaard back. There’s no deal otherwise.

You only have to look at the motivation with which the Dodgers coughed up Matt Kemp to the Padres to get an idea. Los Angeles gave away $32 million to make that deal happen, coming away only with a glove-first catcher and two decent pitching prospects.

The Rockies arguably are even more up against it, given they play in a division with the defending World Series champion and now two more going-for-it-now teams in San Diego and the Dodgers. They reportedly heard “crickets” about Tulo at the Winter Meetings. I wouldn’t underestimate their desire to get something done, and the Mets for once have the cannon fodder to make it happen, if the price is right for them. I’d be very willing to look into this.

That’s one possibility, anyway. I’ve thought for some time now that a leadoff type shortstop, in a non-Tulowitzski sense, is what the Mets need, with Flores going over to second base and Daniel Murphy moving on to another club. In fact, Murphy probably goes in either of my shortstop scenarios, since subtracting his salary would probably make sense if the expense of a Tulowtzski is added, and the Mets have runway at second base with Flores and Herrera easy enough to add in. Either way, they’re not done yet, I don’t think.

19Thanks to Gene and Howie for keeping me on toes here. I think adding John Mayberry Jr. was great for the Mets (righthanded bench power, versatile outfielder) and I go with Gene’s prediction that he winds up wearing No. 19.

Tulowitzski would be one of those guys who triggers a number change, though I don’t imagine be any trouble to reassign Hererra No. 1. According to the legwork by Howie below, 1, 8, 13, 16, 17, 19, 22, 24, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 43, 44, 46, 47, 53, 57, 60, 61, 62, 64, 67, 69 and 71-99 are available. We’ll see some of those numbers populated by recent 40-man roster additions (including the presumed 34 Syndergaard) and other spring training invitees soon enough. Happy holidays!

 

 

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