This just in: An updated Mets roster now lists newly acquired reliever Alex Torres in 54 and coach Dave Racaniello in 53: This is consistent with Torres’ digits in previous stops in Tampa and San Diego. Also new to the coaching ranks is assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler, wearing the popular No. 6, the roster shows (Thanks Jason for the heads-up). Roessler was wearing 60 until Matt den Dekker’s departure, and would be the first coach to wear the uni. I disapprove of this.
We’re adding them to the sacred scrolls of the all-time Mets numerical roster today as the club takes on the Nationals to begin 2015. Joining Torres for the first time are Jerry Blevins (13); Sean Gilmartin (36); Micheal Cuddyer (23) and John Mayberry (44); new coaches Roessler (6) and Kevin Long (57); and in new numbers, Travis d’Arnaud (7); Buddy Carlyle (43); coaches Bob Geren (15) and Racaniello (53).
Before we get started: It doesn’t mean anything, and a peek at the archives would reveal I’ve been ready to go to war with less A LOT, but I should just come out and confess I’ve been a Mets fan for something like 40 years and can’t remember a better Spring Training. Let’s Go Mets!
It was only an hour or so after the news that the Mets had swapped for Alex Torres that it was announced they’d traded Matt den Dekker to Washington for a true lefty specialist, Jerry Blevins. This appeared to put the Torres acquisition in perspective as a more general bullpen depth addition which given the shaky health of Bobby Parnell and Vic Black — not to mention the performance of Jennry Mejia over the last six months (you could look it up, but don’t) — seemed to make sense.
Despite it reminding me more of Billy Wagner than I want to be reminded, Blevins can step right into the No. 13 jersey which has been unissued since Josh Satin took it off a year ago. Just as significantly, the trade reopens No. 6, to which den Dekker brought relative stability, having held it down since July of 2013. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see No. 6 next on the back of Daniel Muno, the presumptive middle infielder if Daniel Murphy can’t make the squad.
From a baseball point of view I liked den Dekker but it was obvious his opportunity to be significant in New York was receding as Juan Lagares’s star was rising and other than the luxury of a decent reserve in AAA, he’s better off getting a chance to play. As for Blevins, the numbers suggest he’s a terrific lefty-killer and will be called to demonstrate as much vs. Bryce Harper and Freddy Freeman. His arrival makes me wonder how the Nats will manage to retire Granderson or Duda when they need to.
Another rough stretch, another few victims, another media crisis, more angry fans in a panic.
So it goes for the Mets, who unexpectedly whacked hitting coach Dave Hudgens — and predictably cashiered gasbag reliever Jose Valverde — following a disheartening Memorial Day debacle. It wasn’t long after Hudgens took leave that his opinions concerning the effect of fans booing and criticisms from team broadcasters were speeding around the circuit, and he followed that up this afternoon by remarking on the team’s “purse strings” — a fresh serving of red meat for stimulated fans who’d somehow convinced themselves that Sandy Alderson hasn’t been deftly splitting hairs for years now when he’s asked about financial constraints governing the ongoing turnaround.
That all the issues — the booing, the Keith, the money, the hitting, the bullpen — are at some level related is the story of the season so far and the burden the Mets are dragging around everywhere. And there was certainly a whiff of Wilponian sneakiness to the Hudgens affair. He was quite obviously one of Sandy’s pet hirings, and replaced by a guy, Lamar Johnson, who’d been hanging around Mettown for a decade. On the other hand, maybe parting with Hudgens was Sandy’s offering to the bloodlusters — dopes in the press eager to link the offensive struggles to the organizational hitting strategy as part of an ongoing effort to bring down Sabermetics and prove the Earth is flat — and an acknowledgement that despite the process, the results called for a change.
So Lamar Johnson is here, the first No. 57 since Johan Santana — and Hudgens has turned in No. 51. Valverde has turned in 47. Elsewhere we’ve seen the return of Matt den Dekker in No. 6 and Josh Edgin in 66, and Vic Black, still No. 38.
Middle-infield reserve candidate and local Jersey guy Anthony Seratelli is wearing No. 2. Guess who for. And I was gonna root for the guy. At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old man, I’m already sick of the retirement Victory Lap.
As suspected, Andrew Brown is now hanging around wearing No. 30 and looks like Jose Valverde has taken over 47.
Brown notwithstanding, it’s a little bit weird how the Mets have tended recently to flip the traditional assignments between infielders and outfielders. That could just be an impression and could be explained in part by Murphy and Davis occupying digits in the high-20s (and I have to tell you, I don’t much like that). But some potential starting outfields this year could combine to as little as 10 (Young-den Dekker-Granderson) or more realistically, 16 with Lagares there instead.
I’ll still wager Ike Davis won’t make it to opening day with the Mets, and it may not have anything to do with Stephen Drew. Rather I still believe it makes too much sense not to turn our redundancies at first base, the outfield (Eric Young?) and young pitching (to the extent you can have enough young pitching) into the things we still could use (a shortstop).
On this day in 1999, Mets by the Numbers was born. That’s 15 years ago! While the very earliest stuff has been absorbed into Internet heaven you can get a glimpse of our hard-hitting take on the breaking Rick Reed-Matt Lawton trade from 2001 here. Those posts and more are of course all backed up here using the archives tab.
Making small headlines over the weekend was the Mets’ annual signing of reserve infielder Omar Quintanilla to a minor league deal. This marks the third winter in a row they’ve done exactly that, and Quintanilla twice now has gone on to play a bigger role than that minor assignment might have indicated.
Now if that happens a third time (and given the Mets shortstop situation why wouldn’t it?) we’ll be in for an interesting dilemma. Quintanilla wore No. 6 his first time through town, but by the time he’d been dealt off to Baltimore and returned the jersey went to Kelly Shoppach, then to Marlon Byrd, then, most recently, to Matt den Dekker. Quintanilla instead was issued No. 3 for 2013; a move that incidentally forced Josh Satin to a new number (13). Now between his release in December and annual January return the Mets have assigned No. 3 to Curtis Granderson, assuring that Quintanilla, should he return to active duty in 2014, do so in his third different uniform number.