The Mets today bought a whole new battery at the Winter Meetings in Orlando: Catcher Ronny Paulino and reliever D.J. Carrasco, both nontendered, and former Pirates. Carrasco is a late bloomer and veteran of four big-league clubs with a goofy delivery and even goofier uni number — 77 with both the Pirates and Diamondbacks. A cursory check turned up no great stories about this odd choice, though it should be noted he was born in 1977 and Pittsburgh, where he began to wear those digits, has a reputation for issuing unusually high numbers to some players. The Mets have never had a 77 despite my plea that they give it to Kazuo Matsui in 2004, which could have changed everything.
Paulino came up with the Pirates wearing No. 56 then 26, and spent the last two seasons wearing No. 29 in Florida. He was busted last summer for PED use and seems to have gotten fat since he was lusted after by a young Omar Minaya back in the oughts, but on the plus side he’d appear a decent selection to platoon with Josh Thole.
The Mets this week also invited infielder Russ Adams, catcher Dusty Ryan, and pitcher Michael O’Connor to camp with minor league deals, and appear to be positioned for a pick or two during the Rule 5 draft. There’s stil a chance — and in my opinion, a good argument — to try and move Carlos Beltran before we endure another season of uncertainty in the outfield, but such a deal seems like a longshot. Reports also suggest the Mets will try and score a starting pitcher — if not this week, then when the unsigned guys get anxious in January — but so far the New Brass seems not to have misled anyone as to their modest goals for the winter.
In the meantime it appears that the Mets careers of Sean Green, Pedro Feliciano, Chris Carter and Henry Blanco are over. We hope maybe Felicano comes back sometime and tries on a fourth uni number — he was 55, 39 and 25 on his way to becoming an unlikely long-tenured and really quite excellent Met. But I don’t much believe in sustainability from short relievers and approve almost whatever churning gets done year to year.