I was traveling for work and missed the reliable and alert Matt B passing along the following comment:
10 – Gary DiSarcina
20 – Ruben Amaro Jr.
21 – Todd Frazier
23 – Adrian Gonzalez
36 – Mickey Callaway
38 – Anthony Swarzak
56 – Tom Slater
58 – Dave Eiland
59 – Jose Lobaton
83 – Tim Tebow
Little we hadn’t guessed already except for the Swarzak reveal. All these years, all those guys, and I still think No. 38 is Skip Lockwood (and Buzz Capra) which I suppose is better than thinking of Victor Zambrano and Vic Black. Dan Warthen was the last guy to wear it. The Mets still haven’t published an official roster yet so I’ll fill in the blanks when they do that or when I take my next trip — to Florida in a couple of weeks to see some Spring Training games for the first time in a while.
There may still be a few more guys showing up. The Mets resigned Matt den Dekker to a minor league deal. You might recall he wore No. 6 in his previous tour of duty, that belongs now to hitting coach Pat Roessler. Yesterday came more indication the Mets are looking at Jason Vargas, the lefty given away when Omar Minaya uselessly moved heaven and earth to acquire JJ Putz. Vargas wore 43 in his last tour.
So congrats to Terry Collins for becoming the Mets longest-tenured manager ever. I never would have predicted that back in 2010 when he was my fifth choice among the so-called “final four” candidates of the incoming Alderson Administration.
I don’t believe he was ever meant to last this long, either. I think they had hoped to have progressed enough by the end of his initial 2-year hitch to pass the torch onto a “win now” skipper but the putridness of the club in 2011 and 2012 actually saved Terry. And once they got good again his charm with the writers (who adore him) and players (who appear not to have tuned him out – yet) kept him going. That and the idea that you can’t whack a World Series manager. I have my disagreements with Terry and more often than I’d like I feel like his team is unprepared, but I don’t think he’s giving away much strategically to the other guy managing most nights and their clubs make mistakes too. Ultimately that’s what matters to me as a watcher of games.
All that said, I think we’re approaching a fairly substantial Changing of the Guard. No, they’re not going to fire Terry but his contract is due at the end of the year, he’s 67 years old, his place in Mets history is assured and he has turned rotten-looking clubs into contenders twice already. Alderson is 69, he’s dealt with a cancer incident, and he’s nearing a point at which he can expect to see at least two of his farm-fresh position players (Rosario and Smith) take on big-league jobs to join the pitching ranks developed or acquired under his watch. (I’d argue for more, to see Cecchini at 2nd and Zimmo! in center, even though I know it’s still early for that). Dan Warthen will be 65 later this year. 9th-String Catcher’s remarks in the below post got me thinking about him and whether he can effect the changes in approach many of his charges seem to need. While I think Warthen would be quickly scooped up were he to be set free, Terry and Sandy, as in the Springsteen songs that use their names, are going to escape this rat-trap town by the end of this LP. And then there’s David Wright.
The Mets’ promotional calendar is full every weekend day but for Saturday, Sept. 9 which is marked “TBD.” My friend who pointed this out to me noted the club took the same strategy a year ago before revealing it would be “Mike Piazza Jersey Retirement Day,” and suggested it could be David Wright Retirement Day. It surely could, but I think that’s only part of it.
The Mets have called Dan Warthen their pitching coach since the famous Willie Randolph firing in June of 2008, and as such, he predates every man in uniform except for David Wright.
He’s quietly becoming a legend.
Yet his No. 59 could be under siege now that reports are trickling out that the Mets have come to an agreement with lefthanded reliever Antonio Bastardo, a 59 both in Pittsburgh and in Philadelphia. I learned long before Warthen got here not to expect a whole lot from free-agent relievers while also believing the more the merrier. A Mets team with Bastardo is a little more formidable than one without him, so it gets my approval.
I’m rooting for Warthen to stay in 59 but wouldn’t be surprised if he gives it up.
The Mets on Monday named a pack of coaches to accompany new manager Terry Collins, including newcomers Jon Debus (bullpen coach); Ken Oberkfell (bench coach) and Dave Hudgens (hitting coach) and a returnee, first-base coach Mookie Wilson. They join returning third-base coach Chip Hale and pitching coach Dan Warthen. Do any of these men speak Spanish?
Uniform numbers have yet to be assigned to these guys but let’s start with the obvious: If the Mets can manage to get rid of Luis Castillo then No. 1 would be available for Mookie. The Mookster wore No. 51 as a coach in 1997 before No. 1 became available to him, and 51 most recently belonged to Mook’s cross-diamond counterpart, Chip Hale. So there’s some drama whatever happens.
I’m intrigued by the possibility of Ken Oberkfell donning No. 0, as he did when I snapped the above photo a few spring trainings ago. The idea of his being a foil and aide-de-camp for Collins wearing No. 10 makes sense, and if Mookie gets No. 1, well that’s even better. I have no idea and no real opinion on what numbers Hudgens and Debus show up in but it wouldn’t surprise me if they show up in 52 and 53 like Met coaches often do.