I’ve mentioned this over the years, and perhaps this makes me come off as the grumpy old fart I’m becoming but my Met fandom was irreparably damaged by 2008, when the Mets coughed up another playoff gimmee, they joyously destroyed Shea Stadium, the Bernie Madoff scandal that would ensnare the Wilpons and cripple the Mets for year was revealed, and Omar Minaya in a show of foolish bloodthirstiness followed the idiotic signing of Francisco Rodriguez with an even stupider trade that amazin’ly, still resonates.
Today the Mets announced they’ve signed Ezequiel Carerra, one of the five guys they threw away for a few ineffective months of JJ Putz, to help fill the void created by Juan Lagares’ season-ending foot injury suffered the other night. Carerra, may be no great shakes, but joins Joe Smith, and the boomeranging Jason Vargas as guys still worth something ten years after that stupid trade. Drives me nuts.
I’ve caught up with the comings and goings. Luis Guillorme is wearing 15, and Buddy Baumann got No. 77 and stunk it up, DJ Carrasco style. Paternity leave (Bruce, Blevins) and injuries (Robles, Cespedes, Lagares) resulted in shuttling to and fro of PJ Conlon, Corey Oswalt, Dominic Smith, Phillip Evans and Jacob Rhame; only the latter two remain here in New York, where its raining again and we may not play.
At least we seem to have gotten Syndergaard and deGrom wins this week.
Well here’s a couple more Mets to update you on. Phillip Evans, who sports a nice tan and can play several infield positions, is up with the club and wearing No. 72; and today comes world that Class AA catching prospect Tomas Nido is up and will wear No. 77.
Trying to make sense of these assignments is never easy, but 72 is simply the number Evans had in Spring Training and the Mets hardly bother to update it any more. That’s why Nido’s assignment is weird: He was No. 70 in Spring Training.
Further in-depth research by my crack team of researchers indicates Nido has a thing for No. 7, having worn it at several stops prior to New York including the World Futures game and at Binghamton this season, and maybe, 70 wasn’t doing it for him. Maybe 07 would have done it. But, he’s 77.
Both Evans and Nido are the second-ever residents of their numbers. Carolos Torres broke in 72 after Yoenis Cespedes’ arrival forced him out of 52. 77 belonged to the one and only DJ Carrasco, who after all this time may still be the worst free agent signing of the Sandy Alderson era.
A promoted minor league coach, Ryan Ellis, is up and wearing No. 60. I debate about including these types in the “official” record: It has always seemed to me that a manager should get 4 coaches: 1st and 3rd base, pitching and hitting, but that’s probably me being a cranky old man.
I consider myself fortunate to have missed most of the goings-on last night due to another engagement but have no excuse but my own laziness with respect to not keeping the roster updated.
Chris Schwinden: The book is closed on the first No. 63 in team history. He was claimed by the Blue Jays the last time the Mets tried designating him. Manny Acosta and Rob Johnson in the meantime cleared waivers and will try to get their stuff together in Buffalo.
Johnson’s departure meant that Josh Thole was back, it’s a miracle the Mets made even a little progress without him. Boy do we have some awful bats out there.
Josh Satin was recalled from Buffalo and again wearing No. 3 as Mike Baxter hit the disabled list as a result of his heroics in the Santana game.
DJ Carrasco: DFA’ed some time ago, cleared waivers, and now officially dumped by the organization. Another guy guy to debut a number (77) with horrid results.
Also returning to the team was gigantic soft-tosser Chris Young, again wearing No. 55. He gives me a little more confidence at the back end of the rotation that Miguel Batista, who also reappeared this week when Ramon Ramirez hit the disabled list with a hamstring injury suffered while rushing to the mound in celebration of Santana’s no-hitter. This was a small price to pay given that Ramirez didn’t look to me like he was in great shape to begin with.
Jack Egbert, destined to be one of the most obscure Mets ever I can already assure you, was sent down when Young arrived. Egbert was so nondecript I forgot even to create a record for him here but that’s done now.
It’s a shame it had to be in the middle of a humiliating double-figure deficit but Robert Carson finally made his Major League debut tonight. Carson was recalled after Terry Collins’ heavy-handed bullpen management put DJ Carrasco in a position where a bad outing would not only cost us a game but him a career. Carson debuted wearing a crooked, straight-bimmed cap and the same No. 73 jersey he’d worn in Spring Training and in his brief appearance on the big-league roster a few weeks back. He becomes the third Met to wear No. 73: Kenny Rogers who ought to be remembered more for the strong work that got the ’99 Mets into the postseason than the bases-loaded walk that lost them; and forgettable veteran Ricardo Rincon, an actor in the 2008 collapse, were the others.
Carrasco was designated for assignment. He was the first signee of the new front-office regime.
A few Met changes to get caught up on that I missed over the weekend: First, there was the return of punching-bag starter Chris Schwinden to AAA after two miserable starts as Mike Pelfrey’s replacement. What makes the Mets think Miguel Batista represents much of an upgrade remains a bit of a mystery, as Batista hasn’t had much more than a good inning or two since spring training and is 41 years old, but that’s the price the Mets are paying for cutting every corner on depth as a means to service the Wilpon’s debt.
In Schwinden’s place the Mets recalled versatile reserve Vinny Rottino, who retains the No. 33 he rocked during spring training. The last Met to wear No. 33 was reliever Taylor Buchholz, who left the club last year battling depression (we know) but the 33 I can see Rottino resembling is Valentine era reserve Mike Kinkade, who like Rottino was a right-handed bench bat who could catch in an emergency.
Also this weekend, the Mets demoted Jordany Valdespin as reliever D.J. Carrasco returned from the disabled list. Valdespin struggled in limited plate appearances but his versatility could be an asset down the road. I’d consider Carrasco a possibility to take a starting role if this Batista thing doesn’t work out, and who really does.
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.