Yes, so you may have heard the Mets went and acquired this Johan Santana fellow from the Twins for a package of four prospects: Outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phillip Humber, Kevin Mulvey, and Deolis Guerra.
And although the Mets will assuredly sign to Santana to an absurd contract extension, this deal right now looks remarkable for how little blood was spilled. Gomez, though he showed flashes of ability and a “good baseball body,” proved in a limited engagement last season that he probably needs a year at AAA. Mulvey looks to be midddling starter material, not to belittle the value of averageness from young pitchers. Humber and Guerra are lottery tickets: Humber because he still needs to regain his stuff following Tommy John surgery; and Guerra because he’s in A ball and anything can happen.
And although we suggested the Mets could use Santana to doubly erase Tom Glavine’s memory by dressing him in No. 47, we’re reasonably certain he’ll alight in his familiar 57 where indeed, he’s all but certain to overtake cannon fodder starter Jason Roach and determined scrubeenie Eric Valent as Best. 57. Ever.
So the Mets yesterday interestingly if somewhat cruelly relegated Aaron Heilman to the bullpen and hope to make a 5th starter out of rookie Brian Bannister. The debate this raises, of course, is whether Bannister ought to also be afforded a dignified uniform number signifying his ascension. Bannister is wearing No. 61 currently. There are historical precedents for any outcome: When Dwight Gooden earned a roster spot in 1984, he went from 64 to 16; but when Eric Valent unexpectedly made the 2004 Mets, he kept his St. Lucified 57.
Should Bannister wish to pay tribute to his dad Floyd, a cursory check through the baseball cards reveals he wore Nos. 19 and 38 in his career: Neither is available except in the case Heath Bell fails to make the roster or is traded — both possibilities we’ve read in the last week. Perhaps too, numbers don’t matter particularly to Bannister: It appears he wore 25 in Binghamton and 43 at Norfolk; 17 with Team USA and oddly, 3 at USC.
In other news it appears that Anderson Hernandez 1 will get the starting job at second base: Whether he won a competition, or is there to stay, are matters of debate.
Turns out our efforts to confirm Jose Santiago’s uni number were worthless — it appears the Mets either never invited him back and/or actually did then quietly released him before the spring.
The Mets’ piddling offense over the last week in the wake of so-called day-to-day injuries to Carlos Beltran and Kaz Matsui highlighted the need for a more threatening bat and so the team recalled Victor Diaz 20 from Norfolk. But the failure to send either player to the disabled list may wind up costing the Mets pesky reserve outfielder Eric Valent, whom they’ll try to sneak through waivers and stash at Norfolk to make room for Diaz.
At the moment, this move has yet to earn the MBTN Seal of Approval: Though Valent was off to a slow start this year, lefthanded bench players who cost nothing and hit 13 home runs in part-time work are hard to find and probably, in demand. We also admire Valent’s contribution to Met Uni history, continuing to wear the absurd No. 57 he was issued as a non-roster spring-training invitee in 2003 when he made the team unexpectedly. Could the Mets have lived with 11 pitchers for a while instead? Did Willie have to give all the lefthanded pinch-hitting opportunities to Marlon Anderson, who for all his success can’t smell Valent’s power? Will Valent clear waivers? How many days before day-to-day becomes week-to-week? We shall see.
Check the vector, Victor! The unhappy second chapter of the Roger Cedeno Story came to a predictable end on Saturday when the Mets “traded” the embattled right fielder to St. Louis for two guys who probably won’t make the team, catcher Chris Widger and reserve infielder Wilson Delgado. The Mets also kicked in almost all of Cedeno’s considerable salary. We wish No. 19 good luck in St. Louis; it wasn’t entirely his fault that the Mets overestimated his abilities, and we feel bad knowing that if fans made that distiction, it still sounded a lot like “Boo!” The upshot seems to bode well regarding a potential trade for Cleveland outfielder Milton Bradley; at the very least it may give Eric Valent a shot to be the lefty pinch-hitter they’ll need in Roger’s absense. Stay tuned! The offseason’s going out like a lion.