Tag Archive for Michael Conforto

Send Me an Angel

59The Mets following Wednesday’s victory over the sinking Marlins said they have acquired veteran right-handed reliever Fernando Salas from the Angels in exchange for Class A pitcher Erik Manoah. Salas, a one-time closer with the Cardinals and currently serving that role part-time in Anaheim, is expected to add depth to the “7th-inning” level of the Met bullpen, where Hansel Robles and Jim Henderson have encountered recent struggles.

49Salas has worn No. 59 in both St. Louis and in Anaheim, although that figure currently belongs to Josh Smoker. It would seem an awful lot of work to accommodate him but it could be done if Smoker goes back to the 49 he was issued when he first arrived, or grabs one of the few remaining unassigned numbers (2, 46, 53, 58). More likely though we’ll see Salas in one of those.

00Here’s a suggestion though. What if they took advantage of SALAS’ palindromic qualities and gave him a number that looks the same frontward and backward? 00?

Salas’ arrival by the way ensures he can be post-season eligible, as can the four guys the Mets have already announced are getting recalls from Class AAA Vegas: Michael Conforto (30), Kevin Plawecki (26), Ty Kelly (56) and Gabriel Ynoa (63). With news that Neil Walker is also likely to be out for the rest of the year you wonder if or when Gavin Cecchini gets a call but perhaps this is T.J. Rivera’s time to shine.

Four games into the below mentioned “21-12” scenario, the Mets are 3-1 and sure enough are making the progress they have to towards the playoffs but my pennant fever at this point is still just an itchy rash. As I’ve said all year if and when they puncture that 10-games-over plateau, maybe the temperature rises.

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Here Come the SHaMs!

That’s the Second-Half Mets, who are going to need to be considerably better than their first-half counterparts if they want to turn this year into something.

I’m not saying they can’t do that, and I’m definitely not saying I’m not rooting for it, but based on what we saw in the first half, I have my doubts.

21I’d have felt better had the team managed to pierce the 10-games-over-.500 barrier but we only approached it several times before settling back into that 80-something win pace. Nobody seems to be acknowledging the biggest loss for the club was big Lucas Duda, who allowed guys like Neil Walker to bat 6th or 7th instead of 4th or 5th. Duda is a mysterious creature. Do we even know how he broke his back? Is his return even a possibility? I’m skeptical of a strong back half without him or someone as terrifying.

20I like Walker enough, but he’s not a middle-of-the-order guy and he hasn’t been much of a force since April. The Mets have Flores, Hererra, Reyes, Reynolds and Cecchini as potential middle infielders. The Mets have no doubt gotten the better of the Niese-Walker swap so far but you wonder, with the Pirates potentially losing an infielder (Kang) and the Mets a starting pitcher, whether they’d shake hands, swap apartments again and pretend it never happened. Niese has been awful, but throw in a prospect, Pittsburgh, and maybe you have a deal. While you’re at it, would you be interested in a reunion with Antonio Bastardo?

Michael Conforto plummeted even more dramatically than Walker but appears to be regaining his stroke in AAA. His return to form would be a considerable boost. Jose Reyes’ return seems to have interrupted Brandon Nimmo’s shot at becoming the leadoff hitter we were looking for anyway. Referring to my recent failed campaign to outfit Travis d’Arnaud in a new number an MBTN reader made a clever suggestion that I might support in helping Conforto to a better second half:

 

I’m all for it, Eric.

33They say it’ll all come down to pitching in the end and I agree. Matt Harvey’s loss, while disappointing, isn’t a setback for the club inasmuch as he wasn’t doing nearly enough to help them win when he was out there. Do they trade for a reliable 5th starter type (Niese again!) or trust things to Sean Gilmartin, and Seth Lugo and Logan Verrett? Maybe they aim a little higher and come away with a Jorge De La Rosa or Rich Hill. Maybe the injury to Snydergaard is worse than expected and they unload. I guess we have to wait and see.

Finally, my friend Conor captured this video from the National broadcast over the weekend! Go us!

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Make Way for Team UnSexy

The Busiest Mets Offseason Without Any Sex Appeal Ever continued Tuesday when the Mets reportedly reached a 1-year contract agreement with free agent outfielder Alejandro De Aza.

30The lefty swinging De Aza, already a veteran of 5 other organizations, is expected to platoon with incumbent center fielder Juan Lagares and was chosen above other prospective jobbers like Will Venable. I’m not even going to guess what number De Aza is issued but will note that 19 is newly available upon Johnny Monell‘s release from the 40. He previously wore 7, 11, 30, 12, 31 and 45. Actually I’ll guess he takes 30 while Michael Conforto, as discussed below, takes 15.

Being one of those fans who tries hard to understand, if not rationalize, what the Mets tend to do and think we can say that De Aza is a cost-effective solution providing the same general “skill-set” of a Denard Span at a fraction of the cost or commitment and is less likely to miss half a season with a hip injury, and continues an overarching strategy to build on last year’s pennant winning club by minimizing the chances they are as debilitated by injury — rather, by overcoming those injuries — as they were a year ago. That said you have to wonder whether the best strategy might have been instead to trade Curtis Granderson and take your chances re-upping Yoenis Cespedes, entering the Jason Heyward fray or otherwise competing for the top talent.

Those ships however have sailed. Ready or not, these are our guys.

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Coach Creep, and How to Stop It

18Great points turning up in the comments in the below post from my furry alien friend Alf Tanner regarding potential numerical maneuverings in light of the Mets’ pursuit of Ben Zobrist, and the departure of bench coach Bob Geren, who announced last week he was taking a similar role with the Dodgers.

In both instances, it raises the issue of the increasing incidence in Metland of what I’m calling Coach Creep — the occupation of uni numbers that ought to belong to players among non-players.

15Geren, you may recall, wore No. 7 during his first season on Terry Collins’ staff in 2014 – a decision that we learned inadvertently blocked the preferred jersey of young catcher Travis d’Arnaud upon his promotion later that year. d’Arnaud, as we know, was issued 15 instead until arranging a swap with Geren before the 2015 season.

30Only that, as Alf correctly points out, may only have kicked the can. Michael Conforto was wearing 15 at Class AA Binghamton when he was recalled in July only to find the same coach squatting on that number so Conforto took the awkward 30 instead. Conforto, as we know, is no Josh Thole and is on Switch Watch as we approach Spring Training.

6It’s not just Geren, neither. Darrell Ceciliani and Eric Young Jr. were each assigned No. 1 last year — despite being obvious No. 6’s — in part because assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler took that number. Come on, Pat. Leave the single digits for the guys on the field. Why is Dario Alvarez wearing 68 and Germen Gonzalez taking 71? In part, it’s because Ricky Bones and Tom Goodwin occupy 25 and 26, respectively.

And now that the Mets are in pursuit of a noted No. 18 in Ben Zobrist, another coach, Tim Teufel, is blocking the way.

As Alf says, let’s allow the manager to choose his own outfit: Terry Collins for the record selected 10 as a tribute to Jim Leland, doncha know, and get the coaches back where they belong, dutifully occupying the 50s.

 

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30 is the new 1,000

30Congratulations, Michael Conforto! You’re not only the savior of the franchise, you’re also in line to be the club’s 1,000th overall player when you make your debut tonight at Citifield.

To anguished fans beating themselves up over the state of the offense, this promotion will never have come soon enough but if you ask me more changes are likely on the way in the next week or so. Given his remarkable deliberateness in the face of so much (real and manufactured) fan and media outrage, not my admiration for Sandy Alderson is actually growing. Everyone forgets how easy it used to be to either push the Mets into stupid decisions or simply witness the club with its priorities all wrong when they did make a move. This is kind of exciting.

Conforto as been well-reported has been issued No. 30, which is actually one of the rarest numbers under 50 in team history. He’ll be just the 19th player to wear 30, thanks largely to Mel Stottlemyre‘s nine-year occupation in the 80s and 90s.

It’s a number that most recently belonged to Andrew Brown, and most famously represented by Cliff Floyd, but at the risk of dating myself I tend to associate it with Mike Torrez, a bit of a poor man’s Bartolo Colon in the 1980s. It’s also appeared on the backs of a handful of reserve catchers like Brown (he was an emergency catcher, anyway), Alberto Castillo, Raul Casanova and Josh Thole, who eventually became a disappointing starting catcher.

Thirty of course was also retired, by the Angels, in honor of ex-Met and former 30, Nolan Ryan.

30guys

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