One desperate final shot at relevancy begins Tuesday when the Mets get back Jose Reyes (hopefully) and Carlos Beltran (maybe) and David Wright on Friday (please) for what’ll be a week-and-a-half of steadily increasing pressure and speculation culminating (I predict) in trades of Beltran, Jason Isringhausen, Chris Capuano and Tim Byrdak and the Mets maintaining their hold on 4th place. It’ll all be for the good!
Meantime, this team can still accomplish something. Just the other day in fact, Jon Niese became the all-time winningest pitcher to wear No. 49 for the Mets. His 20th career win in No. 49 came Saturday against the Phillies, breaking Walt Terrell’s 27-year-old record. Niese like Terrell is a bit of a bulldog with Midwest roots who debuted as Mets (Terrell was from Indiana and Niese from Ohio). Terrell reached 19 wins (against 23 losses) in three seasons and 57 games; Niese thus far has fashioned a 20-19 mark in 58 games over four seasons. And at age 24, there’s presumably more to come for Niese, while Terrell’s career began at 24. While Terrell posseses the better Met ERA (3.53 to Niese 4.15) there’s little difference with regards to the era they played in, while Niese is a far superior strikeout pitcher with better control.
Following are the all-time leaders in victories among Mets who wore 49. Thanks to MBTN reader Shorty for bringing this to my attention.
Jon Niese was officially moved to the disabled list today to make room for R.A. Dickey, who pitched respectably before Jerry Manuel took the ball from his hands too soon and proceeded to manage the Mets out of yet another yet another winnable game.
I can barely watch anymore, yet we see it almost every night: The Mets get a leadoff runner and in an effort to choke dead whatever rally might come of it, Jerry foolishly orders someone to make an out on purpose, frequently removing an effective pitcher while doing so, reducing the number of shots to drive the guy in and asking the following batter, no matter how bad he’s struggling, to make something happen or bring real pressure on the guy following him. Once he’s turned the game inside-out to get that single run (if that), they’ve barely inched closer to victory since it’s now a question of whether the beleaguered bullpen, the same two guys whether they’re winning, losing or tied, can be nothing less than perfect or risk a humiliating fate. And since the bulletproof bullpen Jerry quixotically pursues exists mostly in theory and rarely in practice, the games are always too close and failures continue to pile up: They’re barely playing .250 ball on the road, and it’s a disgrace.
That Omar Minaya provided Manuel with too many offensive outmakers and a thin rotation shouldn’t sheild Jerry from taking a hit for this team’s failures. Those handicaps ought only to illustrate how counterproductive and foolish Jerry’s whole playing-not-to-lose approach is. The Mets aren’t good enough to try and win every game by one run and make outs on purpose, and it’s time the people in charge realized it.
Those awful Mets play in Houston tonight with lefty Jon Niese on the mound. Niese in a stint I’d already forgotten ever happened this year wore No. 49 and is still available for him. To make room on the roster the Mets got around to disabling Gary Sheffieldwho naturally isn’t happy about it.
Like the next guy I’m interested in seeing how the whole Tony Bernanzard drama plays out, not because I think he’s the devil, necessarily, but because how it unravels might reveal something of how this ridiculous organzation works. As I understand things, Bernazard at this time last year looked as if he might be the future king of the Mets, only to see Omar Minaya get the contract extension after the year. With some conflicting reports arriving as to Bernazard’s behavior I’m wondering who the sources are and what their motivation is. I also wonder if it wouldn’t have been even better had he taken his pants off.
Thanks to everyone who showed up Amazin’ Tuesday this week at Two Boots. Newly linked blogger Section Five Twenty Eight has a terrific account of it. We’re doing it again on August 25 (I’ll miss that event but I’d urge you to attend anyway) and on Sept. 15.
Stop beating on Oliver Perez, everybody.
He’s pitched terribly this year, for sure, but the next guy who smugly explains away his struggles to a “10-cent head” is gonna get it. For one thing, most jocks are thick, and being a little slow out there is a virtue sometimes, if you insist on a literal interpretation of the remark. But I think there’s more to it than that. A physical injury, particularly a non-deblilitating but bothersome one such as tendonitis, is a perfectly reasonable explanation (not to mention consistent with Dan Warthen‘s complaint that Perez showed up out of shape this year) if only Ollie were offered the same benefit of the doubt as, for example, a teammate who also appears to struggle with control and confidence and makes problems for the bullpen by failing to last too deep into games.
No, I’m not encoraging the cheap shots extend to John Maine, just pointing out that what Perez needs now is rest and the same support his teammates should expect. There is plenty more to worry about.
Like, for instance, his replacement in the rotation for now, Jonathon Niese, recalled upon Ollie’s assignment to the DL. Still wearing No. 49, Niese gave the Mets a few good outings, and a few not-so-good ones, late last season.It appears Niese will last only until the organization thinks Tim Redding is ready. In case you forgot, Redding was wearing No. 44 when a string of bad starts indicated a ten-cent head injury in St. Lucie this spring.
In other news, Casey Fossum refused a demotion to Buffalo and signed instead with the Yankees. Loser.
It’s looking an awful lot like Livan Hernandez will make the team as both its fifth starter and fifth guy ever to wear No. 61, but I’m not counting on that quite yet. It seems to me that if all these opportunities for Freddy Garcia to get torched result in his getting some arm strength back that he’ll still be getting his chances right to the end, especially with Tim Redding likely to start the year on the disabled list and Jon Niese not too impressive so far.
Anyway, I should say I’ve always admired watching Hernandez work — he’s an ox with a full repetoire, likely to throw any pitch at any count and looks like one of those guys who can nicked a few times each night but still hand over a winnable game to his mates and you ought not ask much more of a No. 5 guy.
I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little disappointed that Rocky Cherry hadn’t gotten a better shot at cracking the Met bullpen, but the good news is the Rule 5 pick from the Orioles isn’t headed back to Baltimore so fast. The O’s refused the Mets offer, and the Mets subsequently released Cherry but word is they’re trying to sign him to a new deal and stash him in Buffalo.
The Mets in the meantime are looking to audition pitcher Fernando Nieve and veteran infielder Junior Spivey whom they both acquired in recent days. Nieve is a live-armed lottery ticket snatched on a waiver claim from Houston. He’s had some arm trouble in the past but reportedly brings it in the high 90s. He wore No. 64 in a few appearances with the Astros last year.
Spivey is the former Diamondback infielder (No. 37) and a member of the Snakes’ blessed 2001 World Champs. He most recently was released by the Red Sox in spring training and played independent ball last season. The Mets.com roster doesn’t show these fellas with assigned uni numbers yet — let us know what you see.
MBTN: Live on Long Island
I’ll be speaking about the Mets, uniform numbers, the MBTN book and anything else that comes up next Wednesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Bryant Library in Roslyn. I will have a few books on hand to sell ($10 cheap!) and/or sign.
The Bryant Library is located at 2 Paper Mill Rd. in Roslyn. I hope to see you there.
Thanks to Gene for the title and inspiration: The Mets on Monday are expected to activate nine and/or returning new players as rosters expand. Below are my predictions for their unis. Be like Gene, hurry and make yours before gametime Monday!
|Jon Niese, LHP
||62 47 49
|I love this call Shades of Humber
|Bobby Parnell, RHP
||His number throughout the minors. Guessed right!
|Ricardo Rincon, LHP
||That’s his number… and still is
|Al Reyes, RHP
||44 29 36
||Got some personality
|Carlos Muniz, RHP
||His number previously
|Gustavo Molina, C
||30 12 29
|Glavine and now Willie. We really are moving on Oh well
|Ramon Martinez, INF
|I barely knew we had this guy
|Argenis Reyes, INF
||Right where we left off
|Marlon Anderson, UT
In a move practically shouting “see you next spring!” the Mets today disabled John Maine for the second time in a month. The club was noncommital as to who would be taking Maine’s starts from here on out but stands to reason the list of candidates would include Brandon Knight, who made a spot start in late July on the way to the Olympics; Brian Stokes, now working in the Mets’ bullpen; or Jon Niese, the lefty prodigy whose high regard by the Met brass could be the thing that prevents his activation at this time. Should it wind up being Knight — who’s probably due for a September recall anyhow — he’ll have to find a new number: He wore 28 then, which since has gone to Dan Murphy. May we suggest 22? Thanks to MBTN reader Ron, who in the comments section a few posts back reports:
I contacted the Mets and Juan Lopez is now wearing # 62.
Lopez is the bullpen batting practice (thanks, commenter) pitcher whose 56 was usurped byLuis Ayala but is still listed that as such on the Mets roster. Congrats to Mike Pelfrey on another solid game. Beat it, David Newhan. And welcome back to reluctant returnee Luis Castillo, who for now takes Maine’s roster slot.
Adam Rubin of the Daily News today writes that 23-year-old infielder Dan Murphy is en route to Houston in time for tonight’s game. Although Rubin hasn’t said who Murphy will replace, we can hope, I mean, speculate, that it’s gimpy struggling Marlon Anderson, who’s just having a terrible season and like Murphy (reportedly), bats left and plays poorly in several positions.
Murphy is one of the “Big 5” youngsters mentioned by Omar Minaya in press comments this week explaining why the Mets chose not to particpate in what was probably the most spectacular trade deadline season in recent memory, despite contending for a division title with obvious holes in the outfield and the bench, and serious questions surrounding the rotation and bullpen.
Just speculating here but with Murphy a potential solution to left-handed bench strength, the other four may fill holes in the outfield (Fernando Martinez), bullpen (Bingo closer Eddie Kunz) and rotation (Jon Niese, who’s also being condsidered for Aug. 11 start, Rubin says; and Bobby Parnell, who might also help in the bullpen). That solution may call for a lot of speculation and wishful thinking, but it’s more help than we got at the deadline so let’s see. In a matter of taste, sure beats hoping that Jeff Conine will help.
We’ll update you on Murphy’s number when we get it and in the meantime direct your attention to the new poll on the left column, reviving the discussion we had earlier this season on what number Fernando Martinez (I prefer “Fartinez” to “F-Mart,” don’t you?) alights in if/when he gets the call.