Archive for Who Is This Guy

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How great was that?

I have to say, I enjoyed this one more than Santana’s effort, because I was little conflicted on that one. No-hitters are just random enough events that I admired the Mets’ distinctive futility in achieving one, and in a matter of taste, kind of disagreed with how aggressively they went after it, especially given Santana’s wrecked-arm aftermath and the controversy of the Beltran call.

Last night, it was five guys all doing the job asked of them, with no controversy and little danger beyond the Nimmo catch and what might have been even more difficult, the 5-3 putout on the very first batter of the game. That wasn’t a spectacular play but if Escobar doesn’t do everything right it’s a leadoff single we all would have forgotten.

As we’ve seen so far, the Mets are plowing into one of these team-of-destiny kind of seasons, where unlikely breaks go their way, the surprises turn out to be good ones, the win the kind of games that humiliate their opponents, and a camaraderie is being forged by defending themselves against fastballs in the ear. Even anti-vaxx idiots missing games because of preventable deadly diseases haven’t hurt that much. LGM!

Catching up with the uni-verse (I was away on vacation in Arizona, and caught one of those good-break games live, last Friday night’s extra inning win that most Met teams in most years lose but this year’s squad can’t help but win), we’ve seen the reappearance and disappearance of Matt Reynolds, who wore No. 15 again and will be remembered for having been called up for the first time as Ruben Tejada’s injury replacement in 2015 the playoffs (wearing 56 but not playing), finally debuting wearing No. 15 in 2016, then circling back to the organization as a minor-league vet this year, also in 15 before being claimed by the Reds as we tried to shove him back down again.

Adonis Medina (who?) is a former Phillies prospect, purchased from the Pirates a few weeks ago, and appeared for the first time as a Met wearing No. 68; Yoan Lopez, a former Diamondback, did No. 44 proud in his first appearance when he took aim (perhaps a little too high) at Cardinals crybaby Nolan Arenado. We also got a brief glimpse of outfielder Nick Plummer wearing No. 18.

Tipping my cap to the laconically solid Tylor Megill, the breakout star Drew Smith, the smartly acquired Joelly Rodriguez, the ever-reliable Seth Lugo and to Edwin Diaz’s finest moment as a Met. So far.

 

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Let’s Do This

I might have predicted a 100-win season a week ago but the injuries to deGrom and the shuffling of the starting rotation have me a little worried as we get started, finally, on a new year.

The Mets officially added non-roster arrivals Travis Jankowski and Chasen Shreve to the 40-man and active roster, which will have 28 guys for the first few weeks. The shaggy Jankowski will wear 16 and Shreve, who was 43 47 in his appearances last season, is now wearing 47 43.

Travis Blankenhorn (73) and Jordan Yamamoto (45) were kicked off the 40-man roster to make room for the new guys; Miguel Castro (50), who I kinda liked for his ability to make opposing batters every bit as uncomfortable as fans hoping the Mets can hold a lead, was traded to the Yankees for Rodriguez.

We also will be welcoming Adam Ottavino (0), Starling Marte (6), Eduardo Escobar (10), Mark Cahna (19), Max Scherzer (21), Joely Rodriguez (30) and Chris Bassitt (40) for the first time–they will be recorded onto the All-Time Roster in order of appearance. Jeff McNeil is now wearing No. 1; David Peterson has gone back to 23; and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is now in 55.

Other staff– Manager Buck Showalter in 11; Bench coach Glenn Sherlock returns to the No. 53 he wore as a Mets coach in 2019; Wayne Kirby, who wore No. 11 as a Mets player in 1998, will be sporting No. 54 as the portly first base coach; new hitting coach Eric Chavez will wear 51; and third-base coach Joey Cora will wear 56.

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Mets for Sale

It’s rare when my personal and professional lives collide but I’ve been doing quite a bit of reporting on the world of sports marketing for my job lately, including taking up an invitation to visit with the Mets at Citi Field March 31 to sample the new food and new features on the way to the park this year. Jacob Pickles’ fried-chicken-sandwich-on-a-biscuit-with-honey was quite good but a challenging dish to eat in the park. Pig Beach BBQ , Murray’s Mac & Cheese, Lobster Shack nachos– all good stuff. The first three options will be available in the Promenade Club; Lobster Shack behind section 104 on the field level.

Inside the park they’ve replaced nearly all static ad signage with high-definition ribbon boards as a first step toward revamping the big scoreboards behind similar technology next season.

I also caught up with Andy Goldberg, who was recently named EVP and chief marketing officer for the club, and we discussed his plan to better build the Mets as a brand. Though a little light on specifics, he mentioned a desire to better sell Mets games as an entertainment option for adults–particularly night games–which was good to hear after the we-get-it-it’s-important but overbearing emphasis on family entertainment of his predecessor. We also discussed the forthcoming uniform sponsor patches, the possibility of engaging creative agencies, and a vision for taking the Mets brand worldwide. Listen below or on your favorite podcast streamer.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a full season preview and hopefully update the Big roster with guys like Joely Rodriguez. LGM!

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2022’s Most Wanted

Updated–

Thanks to your help I’ve been able to assign unis to the below NRIs and staff. Noting here that David Peterson is back wearing No. 23 after losing it last season to Javier Baez. Jeff McNeil has taken his third number — 1 — as the Mets set aside 6 for Starling Marte; and Jeremy Hefner, who always wears a windbreaker anyway, is now listed in 55. The Mets list catching prospect in 95 but I swore I saw him in 75. Still looking for Fargas, who was 81 last go-round.

Non-roster pitchers: Steve Nogosek, Colin Holderman, Eric Orze, Felix Pena, Jose Rodriguez, Alex Claudio, Josh Walker, Rob Zastryzny

Non-roster position players: Nick Dini, Nick Meyer, Hayden Senger, Brett Baty, Daniel Palka, Matt Reynolds, Carlos Cortes, Jake Magnum

Coaches & Staff: Glenn Sherlock, Jeremy Barnes, Eric Chavez, Wayne Kirby, Joey Cora, Craig Bjornson

Number Name Notes
0 Adam Ottavino, P Was Marcus Stroman
1 Jeff McNeil, INF switched from 6; was Jonathan Villar
2 Dom Smith, IB-OF
3 Tomas Nido, C
4 Vacant was Albert Almora Jr.
5 Vacant Unassigned (David Wright)
6 Starling Marte, OF was Jeff McNeil
7 Vacant
8 Vacant Unassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Brandon Nimmo, OF
10 Eduardo Escobar, INF was Gary DiSarcina, CH
11 Buck Showalter, MGR
12 Francisco Lindor, SS
13 Luis Guillorme, INF
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15 Vacant
16 Vacant
17 Vacant unassigned (Keith Hernandez)
18 Vacant
19 Mark Canha, OF was Luis Rojas, MGR
20 Pete Alonso, 1B
21 Max Scherzer, P
22 Brian Schneider, CH Field coordinator/catching coach
23 David Peterson, P was Javier Baez
24 Robinson Cano, 2B-DH
25 Vacant was Ricky Bones, CH
26 Khalil Lee, OF
27 Vacant was Jeurys Familia
28 JD Davis, INF-OF
29 Trevor Williams, P
30 Vacant was Michael Conforto
31 Retired Mike Piazza
32 Vacant was Aaron Loup
33 James McCann, C
34 Vacant was Noah Syndergaard
35 Vacant
36 Retired Jerry Koosman
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Tylor Megill, P
39 Edwin Diaz, P
40 Chris Bassitt, P
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 Vacant
44 Vacant was Robert Gsellman
45 Jordan Yamamoto, P
46 Antonio Santos, P David Peterson switched back to 23
47 Joey Luchessi, P
48 Jacob deGrom, P
49 Jeremy Barnes, CH assistant hitting coach; was Jeremy Accardo, CH
50 Miguel Castro, P
51 Eric Chavez, CH Hitting coach; was Tony Tarasco, CH
52 Craig Bjornson, CH Bullpen coach
53 Glenn Sherlock, CH Bench coach
54 Waybe Kirby, CH First base coach
55 Jeremy Hefner, CH switched from 93
56 Joey Cora, CH Third base coach
57 Dave Racianello, CH Bullpen catcher
58 Alex Claudio, P
59 Carlos Carrasco, P
60 Ronny Mauricio, INF
61 Sean Reid-Foley, P
62 Drew Smith, P
63 Thomas Szapucki, P
64 Yennsy Diaz, P
65 Trevor May, P
66 Mark Vientos, 3B
67 Seth Lugo, P
68 Nick Plummer, OF
69 Vacant
70 Jose Butto, P
71 Vacant
72 Jake Reed, P
73 Travis Blankenhorn, INF
74 Felix Pena, P
75 Francisco Alverez, C
76 Patrick Mazeika, C
77 Yoel Monzon, staff ML staff assistant
78 Eric Langill, CH Bullpen catcher
79 Danny Barnes, CH assistant Major League coach
80 Matt Reynolds, INF
81 Daniel Palka, INF-OF
82 Rob Zastryzny, P
83 Nick Dini, C
84 Jose Rodriguez, P
85 Stephen Nogosek, P
86 Vacant
87 Carlos Cortes, OF
88 Vacant
89 Jake Magnum, OF
90 Nick Meyer, C
91 Josh Walker, P
92 Eric Orze, P
93 Colin Holderman, P
94 Vacant
95 Francisco Alvarez, C
96 Brett Baty, INF
97 Vacant
98 Hayden Senger, C
99 Taijuan Walker, P
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O Positive

Marcus Stroman’s acrimonious departure from the Mets doesn’t necessary mean that No. 0 is going out with him. The Mets this week have signed veteran reliever Adam Ottavino to a 1-year contract.

Ottavino, who’s notable around here for having come though the same Brooklyn little league baseball program my kid plays in, is a former Cardinal, Rockie, Yankee and Red Sock, and has worn 0 — for O, you know — since 2013 so it’s a fair bet that’s what he’ll suit up in here, though the Mets as of this morning hadn’t updated their numerical roster yet.

Stroman, who’s listed in 0 on the Cubs’ roster, by the way, always came off to me as one of those guys who had to invent things to be pissed off about in order to maintain an edge he thought he needed. That’s a really hard demeanor to sustain as a ballplayer and though we missed having clubhouse reporters to pass it along surely something wasn’t right with the chemistry.

In other news, Brad Hand, the 63rd and final Met of last year’s record-smashing player personnel explosion, has gone and signed with the Phillies. Hand wore 52 last season, one of two. The other, Jake Reed, is still on the 40, and still listed in 72 so let’s watch that.

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Welcome Back

So I’m pleased to see the players and owners come to an agreement, doubly so because had it gone on any longer, our little vacation in Arizona timed to the Mets’ series there in April was also under threat.

As you may have heard last night the Mets made a trade for Oakland’s Chris Bassitt, a late blooming All-Star righthander. I can’t recall having ever watched him but the back of his baseball card looks pretty good recently, and he’s a big guy. He wore No. 40 in Oakland that’s been available since Geoff Hartlieb (who?) was selected off waivers by Boston late last year.

To get Bassitt, the Mets coughed up propsect Adam Oller, himself a late bloomer who pitched his way onto the 40-man roster in the minors last season, and JT Ginn, one of the high-drafted pitchers of the Brodie Era, who’d shpown a promising start to his pro career after the requisite elbow surgery they all have to go through.

At any rate, Bassitt looks like a No. 3 in a rotation — deGrom, Scherzer, Bassitt, Walker, Carrasco — that looks great on paper but is a little old and not necessarily the healthiest in the league. I’d be shocked if I’m not here later this week writing about the Big Jeff McNeil Trade, in which we’ll get a pretty good relief pitcher and the red-assed squirrel winds up hitting third for a club that’s not going to contend.

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The Buck Starts Here

Count me among the majority for once: I was very much behind the Mets’ pursuit of Buck Showalter as manager and was pleased if not terribly surprised to hear the club reeled him in. One thing these recent Mets clubs have been missing is a presence as a manager; we last experienced it in Terry. Plus you can be assured Buck won’t go around many losing games by being out-strategized by the other guy. And if he can light a fire beneath underachievers like McNeil and Smith, that’ll be a bonus.

Buck managed the Yankees and Diamondbacks and Rangers while wearing No. 11; and the Orioles with No. 26, which he wore as a tribute to late predecessor Johnny Oates. No word yet on what Buck will wear under his jacket.

As relayed a few weeks ago, the arrivals of Mark Cahna, Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte and Max Scherzer shook things up a little. McNeil is now listed in No. 1, his third issue since 68 and 6. Escobar takes 10, which has gone more than a decade without a player occupant. Marte is taking over No. 6, Cahna gets 19. That belonged most recently to Showalter’s inexperienced predecessor. Scherzer gets 21, which I’ve always kind of liked for a pitcher.

 

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Max Power

Hello from the most active offseason since Omar Minaya reeled in Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez.

You are no doubt in receipt of reports today that the Mets have reached a massive 3-year deal with free agent pitcher Max Scherzer after making successful bids late last week for veterans Starling Marte, Mark Cahna and Eduardo Escobar. And with trades, relief-pitching, depth deals and a new manager still ahead, that’s a mighty heavy workload for newly arrived GM, Billy Eppler.

Scherzer has worn 31 in Washington and in LA, but with Mike Piazza having taken that out of the Mets’ rotation, we’re tentatively anticipating he’ll take it up a notch the 32. That figure belonged most recently to Aaron Loup, who departed to Anaheim on a free-agent deal following Noah Syndergaard, who made the very same move.

Syndergaard’s departure marks the final end to a durable, multipronged trade chain dating back to Tim Bogar, who debuted with the Mets in 1993, was traded to Houston for Luis Lopez, who went to Milwaukee for Bill Pulsipher, who went to Arizona for Lenny Harris, who went to Milwaukee for Jeromy Burnitz, whose trade to Los Angeles yielded Victor Diaz, who was traded to Texas for catcher Mike Nickeas, who was sent to Toronto in the Syndergaard trade.

Noah departs as the Mets’ all-time leader in winning-percentage and strikeouts among Guys Who Wore 34. He was three wins short of Mike Pelfrey for the victory title.

Marte is a sports-car enthusiast (true story: I met his car-dealer at a convention in Las Vegas) who looks to take over center field duties as Brandon Nimmo slides over to left field and Canha takes over in right. Marte has worn No. 6 with Pittsburgh and Miami and No. 2 with Oakland and Arizona. One or both could be available depending on whether change-ofscenery trade candidates Dom Smith and Jeff McNeil survive Eppler’s dealmaking in the weeks ahead. Cahna has worn 20 with Oakland and will need a new issue. Escobar, a switch-hitting infielder who looks likely to take a role similar to Jonathan Villar last season, has worn 5 most often in his career and so encounters a retired number in New York. Scientists project he could wind up in 7 here.

More to come!!

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Mets Give Hand Job

Couldn’t resist, and sorry.

Brad Hand today became the third guy to wear No. 52 this season; he takes it from Jake Reed, who (I’m pretty sure) is still on the 40-man roster but rehabbing an injury in the minors. Reed took it from Nick Tropeano. Just saying: Joe Pignatano wore 52 for 14 years out in the Shea Bullpen Tomato Garden.

Mr. Hand, whom the Mets reportedly had coveted over the offseason but were unable to secure due to the fact that they didn’t have a GM in place: That GM quickly got himself fired, and the GM they got to replace the GM who got fired did something that’ll probably get him fired too but at least he got Brad Hand, came to the Mets via the Nationals via the Blue Jays via the waiver wire. It’s all very clear.

The powerful database where my number data resides is unhappy: It wants me to assign uniform numbers to the five guys who played in the resumption of last Tuesday’s suspended game who joined the club following its beginning back in April: This is because the stats accrued “belong” to the game initially scheduled. OK, so I backdated Patrick Mazeika, Brandon Drury and Heath Hembree with no issues. Chance Sisco is now ahead of, and also behind, Anthony Banda in progression of Met 77s.

But the Flux Capacitor ran out of plutonium while trying to transport Javier Baez back in time. That’s because his 23 on April 11 belonged then to David Peterson. Should we just pretend the game never started in April? I guess we sorta have to, even if this introduces conflict with the official stat line and secondary data like the the progression of Mets, by the way. Instead of being the 1,148th Met ever if we’re counting along with the calendar, Baez winds up being something like 1,123–and we haven’t won 7 in a row, but 6 (I’m writing this between games of the Sept. 4 double-dip.

Amazin’ still we’ve added this many guys in one year and just keep on adding.

Other options would be to “unassign” Peterson 23 for that one game (fortunately, he didn’t appear but it wasn’t like he wasn’t occupying a jersey) or perhaps, solving these conflicts by creating a special character instead of a number, such as ¥, or ∞, or ≠, to indicate when and where these things happen. This seems like an offseason project, like getting a new GM and trading away Jeff McNeil. What a nutty season.

 

 

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Hot or Not

Hi again and thanks for your patience and updates while I was traveling (across Iowa, by bike). Fun trip, very hot out there.

The Mets aren’t so hot. Lots of things are continuing to go wrong for them and as fortunate as they are to be where they are, they absolutely need to be better, not just to have a shot in the playoffs but to make them at all. There’s no way they make the playoffs any other way than winning the division.

Kumar Rocker isn’t getting signed. Bad break for the Mets but a crazy comment from the owner revealing how exploitative the draft is. Jacob deGrom is more hurt than we knew. Conforto is going as bad as he ever has since that demotion a few years back. You wonder if the “Trachsel Cure” could help but why risk it when guys like McNeil and Nimmo can barely run up the line with balky hamstrings. Kevin Pillar looks finished. Dom Smith is a singles hitter.

The Javier Baez trade hasn’t been much of a catalyst and I’m disappointed they couldn’t or wouldn’t do more. I was always a little suspicious of Baez, tremendous swings but makes a ton of outs and would seem to require a motivated teammate like Lindor at his side. Lindor’s injury is sorta like being without Cano; it wasn’t ideal when he was there but the lineup still misses him when he’s gone. At least Alonso is hitting bombs again.

Here’s the new (and old) assignments:

Akeem Bostic 71 (since reassigned to AAA)

Jay Baez 23 (I don’t think this is a middle infielder number at all, despite growing up with Ted Martinez and Doug Flynn. 7 would have been appropriate. I’m also not against adding another nine choices by starting with 0. 09 would have been great.

Baez means that IL’ed lefty David Peterson is switching, to the dreaded 46, according to the Mets roster. I missed the discussion on how or why this all went down.

Carlos Carrasco finally arrived in 59. I also have pitching coach Jeremy Accardo in 59, not sure how or even if that is working out.

Rich Hill, despite the speculation below, alighted in 21. I like pitchers who wear 21.

 

 

 

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