Ouch. The Mets officially got their off-season work underway this week by re-signing veteran Alex Cora and giving free agent catcher Chris Coste a split contract and a shot at the 2010 Mets. In the meantime they saw their own catcher, Brian Schneider, sign with the Phillies, accepting the backup job he probably should have had here all this time.
Cora, it is to be assumed, will step right back into the same No. 3 jersey he wore last season, when unexpected and especially slow-healing injuries to starting shortstop Jose Reyes thrust Cora into a full-time role he was never physically up to. Playing with one and then two sprained thumbs was admirable and gritty, but it didn’t do much to help the Mets win, which raises the question why the Mets would expect a different outcome should Reyes get hurt again. Is he even healed yet? Who knows.
Looks doubtful from here that Coste comes out of his Mets experience with fodder for another inspiring true-life bestseller, but with a decent right-handed bat and some experience playing first base, it’s not out of the realm of possiblity he helps some in 2010. At worst he could be the 2010 Robinson Cancel; much may depend on who winds up with the starting assignment behind the dish: Henry Blanco? Bengie Molina? I’d prefer a trade.
Coste wore 27 with the Phillies (and 41 more recently in Houston) but with Schneider shedding 23, he might slide in there. I’ve always felt Schneider never got enough credit for playing as poorly as he did for the Mets — his defense was less than advertised and his bat was nonexistent but for stretches of both his years here — but news accompanying his signing with the Phillies that he grew up a Phillies fan I’m sure will bring the boo-birds out upon his next visit to CitiField.
Baseball is a very humbling game. Just saying, Joe. And you don’t ask Shelly Duncan for his number, you take it while he’s drunk.
With the offseason officially underway and the countdown to April 5 already begun, two future ex-Mets already filed for free agency and as far as I’m concerned can beat it. See you later, Carlos Delgado and Brian Schneider.
Delgado is obviously a terrific talent and really made the difference in 2006 but like way too many Omarian acquisitions his best days were behind him and he spent entirely too much time nursing injuries and maybe a few grudges as a Met. He made pretty clear in 2005 he didn’t care to be here anyway. Schneider in the meantime might be one of the most overlooked busts the Mets have ever had. In any other year, his 2009 stinking-up-of-the-joint would make him the target of vicious fan abuse and a major concern in the offense. But amid all the other bad news and bad players, he just about got away with it. Schneider’s 2008 was pretty rotten as well.
We’ll see what the Mets have in mind regarding the potential replacements for these guys, but I wouldn’t kill them for looking into what it might take to pry catcher Chris Iannetta from the Rockies. I tend to think the Mets might be best off holding their noses and getting Daniel Murphy a right-handed hitting platoonmate at first base while waiting to mix in promising prospect Ike Davis at first base. Garrett Atkins? Xavier Nady? Let’s think on it.
With many of the likely candidates already forced up to the big league level (and the playoff roster set!) the Mets are expected to make few recalls now that the calendar turns to September and active rosters expand to 40.
One exception is Class AA catcher Josh Thole, who has been recalled from Binghamton and is expected to be in uniform No. 30 for the Mets’ game Tuesday in Denver. A lefthanded hitter with a nice swing but minimal power, Thole might already be an upgrade over Brian Schneider, whose Met career is grinding to a dreadful finish. Thole will be the first Met No. 30 since another catcher, Raul Casanova, early last season.
Thole will become the 52nd Met of the year, as 2009 approaches the team record of 54 players set in 1967.
… and a Huskey New Year!
* Two of the four wearers of the No. 6 jersey last year, Gustavo Molina and Trot Nixon, have signed minor league deals with other clubs. Washington inked Molina last week, while Nixon will try and make it as a walk-on with Milwaukee. And you can add Abraham Nunez to the list of those we won’t likely see again (has ever there been a more pointless Met?), leaving only Nick Evans as a survivor — and not a sure one at that.
* Derek Lowe? Wore 32 with the Red Sox and 23 with the Dodgers. Carlos Muniz has appeared intermittentlkt in 32 over the last two seasons. 23 belongs to Brian Schneider whom I still think may not come back.
* Sure, the Yankees are creeps for signing a bunch of $20 million players this winter but before we hand over the division let’s not forget Sabathia only replaces Mussina, who had an excellent year last year; Texiera replaces Giambi who was pretty good too, and Burnett’s an unreliable douche. For a third place team, the Yankees are trying awful hard.
* Manny? Maybe?
Nobody asked, but were it up to me I’d try to make a deal with Mark Teixeira, trade Carlos Delgado to Toronto for pitching/bullpen/bench help, and somehow make Brian Schneider a backup catcher. Improving the offense is important. If Tex costs too much buy the cheaper of Fuentes or Rodriguez, or take your chances with the guys you get in trades. Somebody’s going to pitch in the ninth inning.
Despite all you hear of Omar’s rep as whacky wheeler-dealer, he’s probably going to play it considerably safer. Blowing his wad for the closer first is one of those moves that won’t get criticized considering how impovrished everyone thinks the bullpen is,and will excuse him for doing much more. Just saying, it’s probably not the cleverest thing he could do.
Citibank’s on the brink of collapse? How appropriate!
OK, so now that Johan Santana is in the fold and will presumably slip on a No. 57jersey at a press event sometime next week, there’s still the matter of the other new guys and what they’ll turn up in when spring training begins later this month.
What new guys? Well, those indicated by the “–” symbol alongside their names on themets.com 40-man roster: Pitchers Ruddy Lugo; Steven Register, Brian Stokes and Matt Wise; and outfielders Ryan Church and Angel Pagan. Catcher Brian Schneider is also indicated with a double-en-space, but we’re reasonably sure he’s headed for the No. 23 jersey photographed below and Marlon Anderson will change into something new.
Normally at this time of year the Mets do their fans the courtesy of scheduling a Winter Caravan in which their guys visit sick kids in the hospital and hit tourist landmarks for photo-ops while wearing their newly-assigned jerseys, but perhaps because of the relative lack of good news to share until very recently, they called it off this year. They didn’t have one last year either and they set an attendance record. Go figure.
Anyhow, none of the pitchers but for maybe Wise has enough number-equity than to take what they’re assigned this spring and it may not be pretty. Register, a longshot Rule 5 reliever, may follow the suit of last year’s counterpart Mitch Wylie and show up in 59. We’ll predict low 60s in fact for all the pitchers but Wise whom we predict ought to scoop up the available 38. Stokes (41 last year for Tampa Bay) and Lugo (45 for Oakland) will obviously be shopping for new digits in the event they make the squad.
And until just recently I would have pegged the lack of a press conference welcoming Ryan Church to the fold as evidence of their preparedness to flip him away in a trade but now I suppose it’s safe to present him with the 19 jersey he wore with Washington most recently. Pagan, No. 29 in Chicago last year, will likely have to give that up for incumbent Jorge Sosa. He could be a 9, maybe.
Know different? Say so below.
Thanks for the welcome from Mike’s Mets.
I was just about to write a message expressing the desire to see a jersey reveal photo-op when I came across this here photo of new Mets catcher Brian Schneider, his cuteypie wife Jordan, and the No. 23 jersey he may wear next season.
As related by Larry in the comments secition of the Matt Wise post below, issuing 23 to Schneider leaves Marlon Andersonin temporary digital limbo: The 18 he wore in his first Met go-round blongs to Moises Alou, and the 8 he wore most frequently (though never exclusively) in his career is itself in mothballs for Gary Carter. (The New York Post, you may recall, reported the Mets had designs to retire the number back in 2006 but never got around to it).
Either way, 8 has been conspicuously unissued since Desi Relaford cleared out in ‘01. At any rate, it’s good to see a new guy holding up a new jersey, even if Schneider isn’t exactly the answer to the prayers of those of us who recognized that the Met offense needed some work too this off-season. The Mets are still presumably in the hunt for pitchers Johan Santana and/or Eric Bedard should they get moved, and Kyle Lohse when he goes. More grip-and-grins to come.
Ladies and gentlemen, Flushing is burning.
Reluctant to rest upon a history of historically stupid dealmaking, the Mets have reportedly coughed up Lastings Milledge 44 in a trade for Washington Nationals players Ryan Church and Brian Schnieder. Wow. Schneider, who wears No. 23 with Washington, at one time was a pretty heads-up defensive player but has never been a good hitter and in fact is quite a bad one, appears to spell an early end to the Metly career of erstwhile backstop Johnny Estrada. Church, a lefthanded hitting insect type who’s actually better than I would have guessed though only about as good as Milledge is right now, was seen most recently wearing No. 19. Both guys could conceiveably retain their digits in 2008 but it would mean a third career uni number for Marlon Anderson.
Now, I’m not one of those guys vulnerable to misplacing my faith in every young kid who tears up the Florida State League; nor do I believe that Milledge’s various acts of youthful idiocy ought not to be a cause for concern. What I worry about are the Mets seemingly never learning not to let their guys go so easily.
More harrowing news to follow at the Winter Meetings.