Tag Archive for Jeremy Hefner

Born in the 50s

The following essay was submitted by longtime reader Edward Hoyt. If you’d like to contribute your own takes on Met uni matters, and especially if it’s up to the level of excellence displayed here, feel free to pitch me at mbtn01 (at) yahoo dot-com.

There’s always an interesting lede when a player returns as a coach to a team he made a mark with as a player. If he was a particularly good player, his homecoming is celebrated with some level of excitement. If he had previously passed through without distinction, it can still be a feel-good story with a potential for redemption.

But after that first day’s story, there’s frequently a minor tragedy — visible on a daily basis — when that player gets his uniform, and it underscores that that whatever value a man might represent as a coach, he is still just a coach. The players get the low numbers and coaches get a number in the fifties … or worse. Leftover numbers.

With most coaches, we shrug. This is their lot in life. But with the coach who had previously played for the team, what heart isn’t touched by the cruel marginalization of seeing Mookie Wilson’s 1 become 51, of seeing Bud Harrelson’s 3 displaced by 53, and Howard Johnson’s familiar 20 being twisted and distorted into a 52 (wtf?)? These fleet youthful birds of yesteryear return to us with the anonymous digits of backup linebackers and special teams long snappers — easy-to-release taxi-squad regulars.

So it is with a ray of spring sunshine that we today see a youthful Jeremy Hefner return as pitching coach (nearly an effing half century younger than his predecessor) in the same 53 he brandished as a player. He had the small grace to come to the team under circumstances no more dramatic than the hiring of a coach (a minor league contract in January 2014), got a number that reflected that, and briefly flourished in it. But when his status upgraded itself to rotation mainstay for about a full season split between 2012 and 2013, his number stayed the same. So his return as a coach in such high digits is not a dim a signal that he can tack on a few more paychecks by cashing in on a large legacy, but that he’s here to add some more substance to a small one — the same guy in the same uniform with the same number on a somewhat different road.

When last heard from in a Mets spring training camp back in 2014, Hef was a bit player in one of those stupid Matt Harvey dustups that always seemed perfectly timed for a day when there was no other news. The team was settling into their spring digs and Harv decided to complain that rehabbing players were not dressing next to the active players training and preparing for games. Now, there are certainly sound arguments for and against keeping everybody integrated even if they’re on a different springtime agenda, but rather than make an internal appeal, Harv decided to take his case to the media. And to make it clear this snit wasn’t about him, he decided to drag poor Hefner into the argument. The Mets are marginalizing me and Hef, the two Tommy John rehabilitation cases, Harvey complained.

Hefner, suitably, seemed embarrassed to be dragged into the story, presumably happy to still be receiving a big league salary that was now existentially threatened — his status even more tenuous than the number 53 implied. And when that status exploded alongside a second UCL tear before his rehab was done, ending his career, the story was about whether the fall of Harvey’s rehab partner would serve as an object lesson for him.

It was always about Harvey.

But now, released from the Angels and finding no suitors this offseason, it is The Dark Knight facing the doorway of oblivion, non-roster infielder Max Moroff getting little attention in Harvey’s old 33, and Jeremy Hefner returning to his 53, ready to build on a legacy that is now all his own. While other players returning as coaches have their light dimmed by a number assignment in the 50s, Hef is shining all the brighter.

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Clip n Save 2020 Spring Roster

Like Steve Cohen I was desperately hoping that 5-year transition period was some kind of joke but it turns out the joke’s on us. Cohen would been the wealthiest owner in the entire game and they screwed that up. How will the Wilpons top that?

Thanks all for the updates on the “bulldog edition” 2020 spring training roster. Here’s a new one with your corrections, additions and changes. Kinda cool that they remember Jeremy Hefner’s previous identity. Max Moroff, a longshot infield non-roster invitee, appears not to have been assigned a number yet, but could slot in at 7 or 33. Just as likely, Tim Tebow will appear in 15 and Moroff can have his assigned 85. (Update: Moroff is in uniform at 33)

By the way our partner site that hosts our number database was down briefly for repairs. We have a few tweaks to make still on the coach personnel which is why I keep forgetting the Mickey Callaway switch. We’ll be up to date soon!

Number Name Notes
0 Marcus Stroman, P was 7
1 Amed Rosario, SS
2 Dom Smith, IB-OF was 22
3 Tomas Nido, C
4 Jed Lowrie, INF
5 vacant Unassigned (David Wright)
6 Jeff McNeil, INF-OF
7 vacant was Marcus Stroman
8 Vacant Unassigned (Gary Carter)
9 Brandon Nimmo, OF
10 Gary DiSarcina, CH 3rd base coach
11 Tony DeFrancesco, CH 1st base coach
12 Eduardo Nunez, INF NRI
13 Luis Guillorme, INF
14 Retired Gil Hodges
15 Vacant
16 Jake Marisnick, OF
17 Vacant unassigned (Keith Hernandez)
18 Ryan Cordell, OF NRI
19 Luis Rojas, MGR
20 Pete Alonso, 1B
21 Matt Adams, 1B NRI
22 Rick Porcello, P was Dom Smith
23 Brian Schneider, CH quality control coach
24 Robinson Cano, 2B
25 Ricky Bones, CH bullpen coach
26 Jarrett Parker, OF NRI
27 Jeurys Familia, P
28 JD Davis, INF-OF
29 Brad Brach, P
30 Michael Conforto, OF
31 Retired Mike Piazza
32 Steven Matz, P
33 Max Moroff, INF NRI
34 Noah Syndergaard, P
35 Jacob Rhame, P
36 Retiring Jerry Koosman
37 Retired Casey Stengel
38 Justin Wilson, P
39 Edwin Diaz, P
40 Wilson Ramos, C
41 Retired Tom Seaver
42 Retired Jackie Robinson
43 Erasmo Ramirez, P NRI
44 Rene Rivera, C NRI
45 Michael Wacha,P
46 Pedro Payano, P NRI
47 Chasen Shreeve, P NRI
48 Jacob deGrom, P
49 Tyler Bashlor, P
50 Jeremy Accordo, CH assistant pitching coach
51 Paul Sewald, P
52 Yoenis Cespedes, OF
53 Jeremy Hefner, CH pitching coach
54 Chili Davis, CH hitting coach
55 Corey Oswalt, P
56 Tom Slater, CH Assistant hitting coach
57 Dave Racianello, CH Bullpen catcher
58 Hensley Muelens, CH Bench coach
59 Steven Gonsalves, P
60 Andres Gimenez, INF NRI
61 Walker Lockett, P
62 Drew Smith, P
63 Thomas Szapucki, P
64 Jordan Humphreys, P
65 Robert Gsellman, P
66 Franklyn Kilome, P
67 Seth Lugo, P
68 Dellin Betances, P
69 Vacant
70 Ali Sanchez, C
71 Nick Rumbelow, P NRI
72 Steven Nogosek, P NRI
73 Daniel Zamora, P
74 David Rodriguez, C NRI
75 Austin Bossart, C NRI
76 Patrick Mazeika, C NRI
77 David Peterson, P NRI
78 Eric Langill, CH Bullpen catcher
79 Adonis Uceta, P NRI
80 Francisco Rios, P NRI
81 Johneshwy Fargas, OF NRI
82 Matt Blackham, P NRI
83 Ryley Gilliam, P NRI
84 Kevin Smith, P NRI
85 Tim Tebow, OF bet he turns up in 15?
86 Jake Hager, INF NRI
87-99 ???
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Addition By Subtraction

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately! Among other things, the MBTN Headquarters building moved to Queens from Brooklyn after 15 years. Like Carlos Beltran, this is a return engagement in the boro: MBTN, now approaching its 21st birthday was born in Manhattan and moved to Queens shortly thereafter, decamping for Brooklyn in 2004.

Also, how can I say this? It hasn’t been a very inspiring offseason yet, unless you are a fan of addition by subtraction. By this I mean the Wilpons and not Zack Wheeler. Five years by my estimation is way too many (for the Wilpons, not Zack Wheeler). That, and the silly chatter on ugly black uniforms, idiotic threats of trading Brandon Nimmo for Starling Marte, and the latest Yoenis Cespedes kerfluffle… So far, yuck.

I’ll miss Zack Wheeler, who departs New York as the Mets’ all-time strikeout king among guys who wore #45 (and 12th among wearers of any Met uniform). He was second to Tug McGraw in win s and innings; and second to Mark Carreon in hits, doubles, runs, home runs, and RBI. He was a good player and I especially don’t like that he wound up in Philly.

To replace him, the Mets have signed two down-on-their-luck veterans, both of whom believe they’re going to be starters, begging the question as to who’ll be the odd man out among the returnees. I could probably get behind Steven Matz going the bullpen but not sure if that’s what the club has in mind. Perhaps they’ll copy other clubs and do “bullpen games.” The new guys are Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha.

As relayed in the comments by MBTN reader Richard, Wacha wore No. 52 with the Cardinals, which is not available if Yoenis Cespeds overcomes whatever foolish activity he took up while rehabbing and cost himself millions. Wacha wore No. 38 at Texas A&M, but that’s taken by Justin Wilson.  I’m pencilling him in to wear 45. Shudder.

Porcello wore No. 22 on the Red Sox and prior to that, Nos. 21 and 48 with the Tigers. Richard relayed: “My guess is he takes #21 since Todd Frazier won’t return. He could also take #22 if Dom Smith is traded.” I’m on board with 21 myself seeing as Porcello also replaces Frazier as the obligatory resident New Jersey guy, and I don’t want to trade Dom Smith. I almost wanna trade Alonso instead: Bigger reward, worse glove, even a little older, and I think it’s going to be hard to match the magnificence of his 2019 year (Alonso, not Smith). No way though will the Mets have the stones to try that.

In the outfield the Mets have added ex-Astros speedster Jake Marisnick, who looks as though he’ll take over Juan Lagares’ role as the right-handed hitting, glove-first, pinch-running, late-inning-defensing center fielder. Marisnick wore No. 6 in Houston; with Jeff McNeil occupying that now let’s pencil in Jake as No. 12.

A bunch of other guys have also arrived, re-upped and departed. Brad Brach is back (No. 29) after a handful of decent bullpen appearances last year. New to the 40-man roster and looking for uni assignments are pitchers Stephen Gonsalves, who wore No. 59 in a couple of appearances with the Twins two years ago; and minor-leaguers Jordan Humpheys and Thomas Szapucki; catcher Ali Sanchez and infield prospect Andres Gimenez.

We can also cut official ties with Lagares (12); Wheeler (45); Kevin Kaczmarski (16); Aaron Altherr (23); Drew Gagnon (47); Chris Flexen (64) and Chris Mazza (74). Another 40-man cut is coming when they add Porcello.

New coaches? We have them too. Jeremy Hefner (remember him?) wore the coachly No. 53 as a Met back in 2014; he could take that over from departing first-base coach Glenn Sherlock. We’ve also added Hensley Meulens as the bench coach. Meulens wore No. 31 (I think) in the same role for the Giants last year and so would need a new assignment, as will new first-base coach Tony DeFrancesco. The remarkable Phil Regan (No. 58) is out as pitching coach.

We’ll build a winter roster soon! Much still to do though.



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New From The Leftorium

53New lefties Jerry Blevins and Alex Torres have been issued jerseys No. 13 and 53, respectively, the Mets said Tuesday.

Blevins’ assignment was no surprise as he’s worn that number in previous stos in Oakland and Washington, while Torres takes a vacant number that follows his righthanded namesake’s 52. Bobby Abreu was the last guy to wear 53 for the Mets; before that it was Jeremy Hefner. Josh Satin was the last guy to wear 13 for the Mets.

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To Be Named Later

Good morning. Quick note to catch up on the rapidly evolving and possibly improving 2014 Mets.

Kyle Farnsworth,  whom I don’t like, has taken over closing duties from Jose Valverde,  whom I don’t trust, but the question remains who’s next once Farnsworth has proven untrustworthy. Seems so far that Gonzalez Germen has the results and Jeurys Familia the stuff but I have this crazy notion of shocking the world behind Dice K-loser. Unless things get really bad we’ll probably learn again this year that who closes doesn’t matter all that much, as long as someone does.

29On the other hand, who plays first base every day does matter,  and I’m relieved to see they finally did something about that. I ran out of patience with Ike Davis a few years ago and long since resigned myself to the fact that he was destined to go cheaply in a trade. There’s some buzz out there that the Player To Be Named is significant;  I’d guess potentially so, given that’s the best way to describe Ike too. So long, Ike.  Like Steve Trachsel you were a pretty good representative of No. 29 but it didn’t end well.

53This morning we get the news that ancient chunky hit machine Bobby Abreu will arrive to take Ike ‘ place as lefthanded pinch hitter. I have to say I like having a “professional hitter” with no dreams of being a starter ever again to be hitting late-inning doubles for me, and Abreu joins what looks to be a pretty solid bench.

Abreu is notable for having worn the oddish No. 53 all those years with the Phillies. I can’t imagine the shelved Jeremy Hefner would mind loaning it to Bobby because I can’t imagine a scenario where their active careers overlap again. Twenty-nine is available too now but, no.

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Mets Brace for Batista vs. Bautista

Last night’s beating has left the relievers in need of relief, so the Mets today recalled Jeremy Hefner and sent down infielder Jordany Valdespin. Hefner appeared earlier this year wearing uniform No. 53 and backing up starter Miguel Batista when Batista was hammered by the San Francisco Giants. The prospect of the Blue Jays bats unloading on Batista — despite his best start last time out — suggests the Mets are making a prudent move.

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Mets Do the Buffalo Shuffle

19What was looking like a happy and uneventful Mets season has suddently become anything but. A few poor starts and a little better competition has begun to expose big cracks in the Mets’ health and holes in their game. I don’t think I’ve seen a Met look as lost at the plate as Ike Davis does these days since Jeromy Burnitz in 2002. We’re really piling up the whiffs.

53As noted below, a few disabled-list assignments have brought some new players to the team. Monday’s doubleheader featured the Mets debut of Jeremy Heffner, who took the roster slot of disabled infielder Ronny Cedeno. Heffner, who wore No. 53 — the first since manager Jerry Manuel in 2010 — was farmed out again after the game when Jordanny Valdespin was activated. Valdespin, a hard-hitting prospect whom the Mets hope to use in a utility role, was assigned No. 1 (I’d have guessed 22, wrongly again). Today we got news that both Jason Bay and Mike Pelfrey were added to the disabled list. Bay’s spot on the roster will be taken over by Zach Lutz, a third baseman who can hit.

The Mets have assigned Lutz No. 19, which if you’re Danny Herrera can’t be encouraging. The little lefty we received for Francisco Rodriguez last season is already off the 40 and out for the year with arm trouble. It’s unlikey we see him again. Pelfrey’s spot — for the moment — will be occupied by lefty reliever Robert Carson, who’s been assigned No. 73, at least according to the Mets roster.

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Numbers Assigned

Just as we suspected, the Mets this morning posted new uni numbers:

73 Robert Carson
75 Juerys Familia
48 Frank Francisco
53 Jeremy Heffner
52 Ramon Ramirez
60 Jon Rauch

Mike Nickeas switches from 13 to 4 and Ronny Cedeno takes 13

71 Wilmer Flores
74 Reese Havens
61 Jordanny Valdespin
76 Juan Lagares
67 Cesar Puello
56 Andres Torres
72 Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Non-roster Invitees with new assignments:
58 Fernando Cabrera
70 Matt Harvey
36 Chuck James
38 Garrett Olson
16 Rob Johnson
62 Lucas May
6 Omar Quintanilla
68 Matt den Decker
20 Adam Loewen
33 Vinny Rottino

Worth noting: Still no 17. 6 back in circulation again, and belonging to a scrub who’s likely to see at least a few innings on the big league roster this year. Top prospects occupying the 70s.

Coaches Tom Goodwin, Tim Teufel, Bob Geren and Ricky Bones still have not received assignments, although its kind of interesting to see Ramirez and Heffner occupying traditional coaching numbers. More on this soon!

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