Generally, we can take or leave Old-Timers Days, but if you didn’t wipe your eyes tonight you’re either too young to remember or at the wrong address.
Throwback Night features the Met debut of lefty pitcher Dave Williams, the former Red we traded for in May, wearing the racing stripes and No. 32. Williams, it should be noted, is the third guy to wear No. 32 this year alone for the Mets. Rotten emergency starter Jeremi Gonzalez had it back in May and recently sacked pinch-hitter Eli Marerro took over in June.
In case you’re wondering, that’s not a record, though it ties for second: In 2004, the Mets trotted outfour different stiffs in No. 6 (Ricky Gutierrez, Gerald Williams, Tom Wilson and Jeff Keppinger). We’re impressed if you can even recall Tom Wilson’s Met career.
We needn’t even have to say it, but Heath Bell 19 was optioned to Norfolk to make room for Williams.
Now that the Mets have finally cut ties with forgotten infield prospect Jeff Keppinger, the popular No. 6 is officially up for grabs again. We suggested earlier this year it might look good on prospect Lastings Milledge, sandwiched as it is between Wright at 5 and Reyes at 7. That of course would require Milledge to last beyond this trade deadline. It’ll be difficult this week to tune out the drumbeat for a Barry Zito trade: Yes, he’d be the first and only 75.
The trade of Jason Phillips vaulted Ramon Castro into a likely role as Met backup catcher and his uni number went flying too. Castro’s status seems solidified by a switch from the non-rosterly 72 to the backup catcherly 11. With a week to go until the bell rings, notable recent cuts include Jae Seo 26, Scott Strickland 28, Jeff Keppinger 6, and Scott Stewart 32.
The Mets controversial trades last month are paying off in unpredictable ways. When Victor Zambrano 38 left his start Tuesday with elbow trouble, the Mets recalled the player received with him, reliever Bartolome Fortunato, who made his Met debut Friday wearing No. 43. Meantime, Joe McEwing 11 went down Thursday with a dirty-slide-induced broken leg and so the Mets recalled Jeff Keppinger, the throw-in infielder received in the Kris Benson deal.
Keppinger was issued No. 6 — for the fourth time this year and the 31st time in Met history. Both are records that may never be broken! (The Mets quietly last week traded catcher Tom Wilson, the third wearer of the 6 jersey this year. Ricky Gutierrez and Gerald Williams were the other two victims so far).
Expect plenty of wound-licking and hand-wringing this week if/when Scott Kazmir makes his debut with the Devil Rays and Jim Duquette submits his resume on Monster.com. This has been a very weird month, even for the Mets.
OK, maybe it’s not that bad. Maybe it is! The Mets tonight pulled a series of staggering moves, gutting the farm system in exchange for two pitchers who probably won’t provide the pennant the Wilpons are so hungry for but at best add stability to an aging rotation. Dealing pesos on the dollar, the Mets sent AAA catcher Justin Huber to Kansas City for third base prospect Jose Bautista, then packaged Bautista, jobless infielder Ty Wigginton, and promising righty Matt Peterson to Pittsburgh for Kris Benson, the free-agent to be, and minor-league infielder Jeff Keppinger.
Moments later we learned they’d also paid through the nose for erratic, possibly injured Devil Ray righty Victor Zambrano. All they coughed up in this deal was studly prospect Scott Kazmir and, just for the hell of it, intriguing longshot pitching prospect Joselo Diaz. Along with Zambrano came a cup-of-coffee reliever called Bartolome Fortunato, who was assigned to Norfolk.