Here’s to the Mets for not allowing that shameful showing in the opener to prevent them from claiming first place to themselves by series’ end. Seems we were fortunate to catch Philly while Chase Utley suffered a severe case of the sucks, but if 2007 taught us anything it’s that the winners can’t choose how ugly the losers turn out to be.
With the uniform number roulette temporaily slowed down — at least until they call up a guy to take Pedro Martinez‘s again-delayed start on Saturday (word coming in as as I write this is Brandon Knight, currently wearing No. 15 for your New Orleans Zephyrs), or Ryan Church arrives, or the trade deadline occurs… or whatever — we have a few uni oddities to ponder.
Reader Michael sent along these here images of Jose Reyes wearing unfamilar numbers. While Reyes has occupied No. 7 for his entire Met career (except for Jackie Robinson Day this season), these are extrametular: No. 9for his stint with the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic; andNo. 28, I presume, from Binghamton prior to his callup but I’ll let you experts out there tell me for sure.
The below team shot of hideously-dressed 1979 ballplayers on a tour of Japan, first published on Uni Watch this week, subsequently generated a fair amount of discussion at the Crane Pool Forum. The multistriped hats aren’t 1976 pillbox throwbacks but renderings in the then-contemporary style in Japan (the 1976 lids had three stripes, not five). But what knocks me out are the contrasting styles of the numerals on the Mets jerseys worn by John Stearns and Joel Youngblood, respectively (see a larger image here). Can anyone offer an explanation of Youngblood’s incorrect No. 1?
The Mets announced Friday that they’d signed veteran outfielder Brady Clark to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training. This would be the second Met go-round for Clark who arrived from the Reds in September 2002 as the fourth and final piece in the Shawn Estes trade.
Now, Shawn Estes may have been a rotten Met himself, but his trade brought a few decent talents to the organization: In addition to Clark, who stuck around only long enough to participate in the horrid month of September 2002 (but went on to have better success elsewhere), the Mets gathered in outfield reserve Raul Gonzalez, and a skinny lefty, Pedro Feliciano, who, depending upon how you count these things, is the Met with longest tenure heading to the 2008 season. To be technical, Jose Reyes is the longest with continuous service. Feliciano since 2002 was cut and reacquired not once but twice: He was claimed on waivers by the Tigers following that season but released and re-signed by the Mets the following spring. Feliciano would later be sold to the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks and re-signed again prior to the 2006 season. That trade also produced a minor league pitched, Elvin Andujar, who went nowhere.
But about Clark. Righthanded hitter with a decent glove and a chance to be the guy who replaces Damian Easley or pressures Olmedo Saenz for a reserve role. Wore No. 15 for his first go-round, so will be shopping for new digits now. Saenz by the way is listed as suiting up in No. 91, as indicated by the comment section in the below post.
After that horrific ankle injury — ever do something like that? It makes a noise — Mets never really adequately replaced Damian Easley.
There was irony, or something, in the Mets failing to make the playoffs given all the attention to Easley’s dubious ascension in the Guy With the Most games Never to Appear in the Postseason rankings. But you know, Jeff Conine didn’t turn out to be a very good replacement for Easley.
Far be it from me to take away attention from the horrendous performances of the bullpen, Jose Reyes, Tom Glavine, etc etc down the stretch … but when it all comes down to a single game, perhaps a guy who could whack the lefthanders a little more reliably may also have made a difference. All of which is a convoluted route to getting to the point you already knew: Easley will get another chance to end (um… or extend) his streak for playoff futility with the Mets in 2008. A one-year deal for Easley, along with a option renewal for Moises Alou 18, were announced by the Mets on Wednesday. Easley and Alou happened to be the first two new guys added to the roster last off-season too.
The Mets also purchased a catcher, Luis Alen, from the cool-hat-wearing Winnipeg Goldeyes of the independent Northern League. Alen isn’t likely to be a starting candidate on the Mets next year but it’s always fun to note the first appearance in the transaction agate of the hot stove season.
The Mets would be fools not to pretend to be interested in Alex Rodriguez, and for all we know, they are (just move Wright to first and flip Delgado at a loss for pitching. It’s not that unfathomable). With 13 tied up in Billy Wagner, we’d bet on Easley losing No. 3 so that A-Rod could have it here. Meantime, the idea that Jorge Posada turns up on our team was raised in the papers today. Just saying: Shawn Green is out. No. 20 is available.
Carlos Muniz 38 made his major league debut last night in another harrowing defeat. Could a guy who hit two home runs on the night look any worse than Jose Reyes? Here’s hoping the 9th inning rally carries over to Phillip Humber’s scheduled start tonight, but who knows. I’ve given up trying to figure out this team. How about those Rockies?
Muniz is the 821st Met of all time and the 48th this year.
You may have seen the Village Voice this week featuring Jose Reyes on its cover and a provocative “Stealing Mickey’s Mantle” headline. Inside, Allen Barra’s article draws parallels between Reyes and Mantle, noting they shared a city, switch-hitting and stealing ability, a reputation as their era’s most exciting players, and of course, a uniform number (7).
If we going down that path though (and clearly Barra is) I’d sooner associate a pair of 5s in David Wright and Joe DiMaggio. And though he raises some interesting points, Barra ultimately bungles the story by getting the Met psyche all wrong:
If José Reyes is being overrated, it may be in large part because Mets fans want to will him into being the first truly great everyday player in team history.
This notion, central to the piece — the subhed says as much — would come off more believable had Barra bothered to include any points of view from an actual Met fan as part of the piece. (Had he asked a year ago, he’d have caught many of us hoping only that Reyes approach adequateness). But having built a case for Met fans being tortured and unrealistic, Barra then gets a guy who draws paychecks from the YES network (Goldman) to poke holes in his own trumped-up theory. (Oh, you poor delusional Met fans. Someone must show you tough love). Finally the entire thing is wrapped way too tightly in Yankee perspective: The Mantle comparison is one thing, but the nauseating Jeter showdown at the end is barely even honest (we get a “similar points in their career” comparison strongly favoring Jeter when comparing like-ages would tell a very different story). Bring back Billy Altman!
Thanks to reader effort we’re relatively sure catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. is wearing No. 90 which we also think may be the highest number in camp this spring. Nice job by the Mets to dress longshot catching invitee Jose Reyes in No. 77, which not only recalls his famous namesake but indicates he’s roughly twice his size. In a new number this spring is Steve Schmoll, submarining in the No. 38 jersey belonging most recently to Victor Zambrano.Schmoll last year attended camp wearing 46.
Zambrano, by the way, is non-rostering it with the Blue Jays wearing No. 31. Steve Trachselof the Orioles is wearing No. 18. And in an arrangement we won’t believe till we see, Cliff Floyd wears No. 15 for the Cubs (And Ted Lilly gets 30. Really, now).
The new contract signed by David Wright last week all but assures he’ll become the longest tenured No. 5 in team history, surpassing Steve Henderson — unless he’s also traded to the Cubs for Dave Kingman.Meanwhile, Jose Reyes, who signed a four-year deal last week, still has a long, long way to go to catch Ed Kranepool’s 17 years of service in the No. 7 jersey.
Henderson by the way leads all No. 5s in games (497) as well as seasons (4) and narrowly edges Olerud in all-time plate appearances 2,029 to 2,018. Wright is on pace to surpass those marks sometime in 2007.
Jose Reyes finally returned to the Mets. To make room for him the team designated catcher Tom Wilson for assignment, leaving the team temporarily with two catchers and six outfielders and importantly, freeing up uniform No. 6 for another issue. Reyes looked great in 7, hustling in one run and tripling to set up the gamewinner.
In another move the Mets once again sent Pedro Feliciano 55 back to Norfolk before seeing any action in New York. That Feliciano’s replacement, Jose Parra, saw action in his first opportunity probably didn’t make the return trip any sweeter for Pedro. Parra, a veteran righthanded reliever who was closing in Norfolk, suited up in the dreaded No. 46.
(updated) Kazuo Matsui met the press this afternoon and tried on his jersey — in a surprise, No. 25. That shirt was most recently worn by coach Don Baylor, who took it from Scott Strickland over last offseason.
Rumors persist that Kazuo Matsui will take Jose Reyes’ position on the field. Will he also take the shirt off his back? Matsui, the Seibu Lions shortstop who this offseason became the object of Fred Wilpon’s questionable intrigue, has said in interviews that he’d prefer to sign with a team on which he could wear his customary No. 7 jersey. That number, of course, was issued to Reyes way back in spring training of 2002 and was reserved until his big-league arrival last summer. Considering the bend-over-backwardsness and drama with which the Mets have pursued Matsui thus far, the guess here is that the Japanese free agent winds up not only with Reyes’ hard-won position but his digit as well. But here’s a suggestion for the marketing department: Leave Reyes in 7, and give Matsui 77. The Made-For-Photo-Ops middle-infield would be complete.
With Rey Sanchez 10 onto the disabled yet again, the Jose Reyes era is getting an early start. The heralded Met shortstop prospect will make his Major League debut tonight, a day before his 20th birthday, wearing No. 7. The Mets also also welcomed back Timo Perez 6 and returned Raul Gonzalez 21 to Norfork.