You might recall Kunz was the Mets’ first draft pick in 2007, No. 42 overall, back when Omar Minaya’s draft strategy was about gathering in relievers who’d make quick ascension to the big leagues: Chad Cordero and Joe Smith, for example. Kunz was a hulking dude with a big chin and a hard slider, and everything looked quite promising for him as he settled in a closer for Class AA Binghamton in his first year as a pro. His arrival on the Mets came in August of 2008, just as the bullpen crisis that eventually would ruin them began with Billy Wagner’s unavailability. Kunz was up for a little more than two weeks, then reassigned to AAA New Orleans after his first big-league 9th inning — protecting a 7-1 lead against Pittsburgh, turned hairy.
Had the Mets soured on Kunz already? They issued his uniform number (44) less than two weeks later to Brandon Knight. They didn’t bother to ask him back in September, even as they tried just about anyone with an arm to pitch in. The offseason saw Tim Redding get 44. Kunz toiled in the minors ever since, eventually losing his spot on the 40-man roster and yesterday, was traded to San Diego for Allan Dykstra, a first baseman who like Kunz, was a former high draft choice languishing in the minors.
As mentioned previously, 44 has lately become something of a cursed number for the Mets: Just when I was getting some confidence to go to war with this group, down went Jason Bay. He hadn’t yet surrendered the number to Jason Isringhausen, who on Wednesday said he’d agree to a two-week stay in extended spring training but may never make it up.
Amazin Tuesday Returns: On Tuesday, April 5 — that’s next Tuesday — I’ll be getting together with Matthew Silverman and other writers and Mets fans for a game-viewing party and gathering at the Pine Restaurant at the Holiday Inn LaGuardia in Corona: That’s the former Bobby Vee’s on 114th Street. We’ll have the Mets-Braves game on TV from Atlanta along with food, drinks, readings and more.