As if the Mets needed more proof that $15 million and an easy looming option clause aren’t necessary requirements to furnish a bullpen this year or next, Jason Isringhausenthis week walked in off the street and landed a minor-league contract with the Mets. I’m happy to see Izzy back, even if he’s a long shot, because it never hurt anyone to have a Plan B or C with a little experience hanging around, especially one with Met heritage. With No. 44 assigned to Jason Bay, Izzy slipped on a No. 45 jersey and said all the right things about John Franco, but in the event he breaks camp, as unlikely as it seems, it might be best for all parties involved if some jersey swapping occurs.
Let’s start with the fact that Izzy’s had only one other number in his career — 29 — but he gave it up for 44 before he ever appeared in a Mets game. He wore 44 so as to remind himself — and show others — that he was a 44th round draft pick. And it’s the only number he’s worn ever since. Bay on the other hand had zero equity in 44 until traded to the Red Sox — that episode of his career will look like a blip on his baseball card when it’s all over — and he left that team for the Mets. And if anyone could use a change of fortune it’s Bay.
(See Matt’s comments below for a counterpoint on Bay).
New outfielder Ricky Ledee arrived at Shea this evening and suited up in No. 9, last worn by chunky infielder Craig Brazell, best remembered for ruining the Cubs’ 2004 season, currently playing AA ball for the Dodgers organization. Also tonight, the Mets announced that Cliff Floyd 30 was headed to the disabled list for the second time this year and that his spot on the roster would be filled by journeyman Michael Tucker, who’s hitting 265/381/411 while wearing No. 34 down in Norfolk. Let’s hope Floyd stays disabled until fully able. Update Aug. 10 — Tucker appeared today in 22.
Thanks to Louis for the correction on Uni Controversies — the player John Franco swiped 31 from was Julio Machado and not Julio Valera. And thanks to Adam, Michael and Gordon for the Ledee news.
Editorial: If you’re a Met fan out at Shea desperately seeking attention by booing, do yourself a favor and put a sock in it. Thanks.
Ledee In; Marerro Out: The Mets on Tuesday picked up veteran reserve outfielder Ricky Ledee on waivers from the Dodgers and brought an end to the short and undistinguished Met career of Eli Marerro to make room for him. The well-traveled Ledee has frequently worn 33 but was wearing 21most recently with the Dodgers — neither number is available here. We’re guessing he appears tonight in Marerro’s old 32.
Nice to see the great ovation given to returning hero Mike Piazza, and odd to see him wearing No. 33 — his familiar 31 has been retired by his new employers for Dave Winfield. Odder still to see Jae Seo in Tampa Bay wearing the outrageous No. 98.
Shout out to Uni Watch Blog, deliverer of some recent traffic. If you don’t read it, um, you should.
The Mets are expected today to introduce Pedro Martinez at a press grip-and-gin and present him with jersey No. 45, which he’ll try on over a suit as flashbulbs pop. Whether the Mets really ought to be fooling again with these kind of high-risk moves is debateable, but we have little doubt that Pedro will provide some excitement. His taking of No. 45 likely solidfies John Franco’s bid to be the first player in Met hstory to warm up a jersey number for two future Hall of Famers.
Leave it to the Mets to see a player retire — and have him replaced by guy even older. That was the news today when 40-year-old worn-out warrior David Cone 16 called it a career and was replaced on the roster by 42-year-old rehabbed reliever John Franco 45. Good luck to David, who joins Mo Vaughn among pretty good players who seem to have spent their last days of their careers with the ’03 Mets.