No sooner had I suspected Sandy would deal than he dealt: Two longshot minor league pitchers to the Braves for veteran journeymen Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. While the pundits figure out what that means to a lineup desperate to corral them (bench Flores? Duda?! Trade Murphy? … yes to all three?!?) a still larger challenge could be figuring out where they’ll fit within the confines of a decreasing supply of viable uni numbers.
Assuming every man on the 40-man roster retains their assignment, and coaches and existing players don’t switch, and the mothballed numbers (8, 17, 24) remain in limbo the available choices are 0, 00, 44, 46, 55-57, 60-61, 63, 65, and 67-99. That’s not a whole lot of variety! (44 by the way was just torn from the back of disappointing alleged lefty-masher John Mayberry Jr., who was released to make roster space for the incoming duo).
The histories of Uribe and Johnson give us little to go on: I associate Uribe with No. 5 from his time with the Giants; and Johnson, I have no idea. The Mets will be his 9th team in a 10-year career. If it’s up to me I outfit them in 0 and 00, though I don’t know if that will fly with Mr. Met. More like, I predict one of then (Uribe) takes the No. 6 currently belonging to assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler, Johnson takes 44, and Roessler moves to something like 55. Or maybe Uribe takes 55? What’s your prediction?
Kelly Johnson, by the way, will be the 8th Johnson (and 3rd Kelly) in Mets history, tying the Jones boys (Barry, Bobby J, Bobby M, Chris, Cleon, Randy, Ross and Roadblock) for the all-time Mets surname record. The Johnsons now include Kelly, Ben, Bob L, Bob W, Howard, Lance, Mark and Rob, not to mention the manager Davey.
Los Siete Hernandezes (Anderson, Keith, Livan, Luis, Manny, Orlando and Roberto) are third.