Goodbye and good luck to Nick Evans, the blinking reserve infielder whose eight different trips in and out of the No. 6 jersey over the last four seasons embodied its heritage as the most frequently issued number in team history. Evans was up and down so many times his number was issued to not one, not two but three different players who served entirely within his tenure: Abraham Nunez, Trot Nixon and Ramon Martinez. I have trouble believeing any of them were ever Mets.
Evans, who was released by the Mets for the millionth time following the season, accepted free agency at last and promptly signed a minor-league deal with the Pirates for whom he stands at least a slim chance of going all Heath Bell on us. I’ll remember a smashing Saturday debut in Colorado that might have saved Willie Randolph’s job for a few weeks at least but few other highlights until a modest garbage-time showing this year. His absense leaves a void in the No. 6 heritage that surely will be filled by a scrub we haven’t met yet.
If No. 6 has a counterpart on the pitching side, No. 38 would be a contender. It last belonged to lefty Chris Capuano who parlayed his irritating mediocrity in Metville into a 2-year deal with the Dodgers. I never much understood the regard for Capuano whose 5th-inning crooked numbers arrived like clockwork and guaranteed the bullpen took a beating every night he worked, and, we were reminded, he never missed a start.
That kind of reliability, hopefully with a little more success, will have to be bought anew, perhaps at the Winter Meetings beginning this weekend in Dallas.
Finally you may have seen Bobby Valentine trying on the No. 25 jersey as the new manager of the Red Sox. It’s great to see him back.