Goodbye and good luck to Nick Evans, the blinking reserve infielder whose eight different trips in and out of the No. 6 jersey over the last four seasons embodied its heritage as the most frequently issued number in team history. Evans was up and down so many times his number was issued to not one, not two but three different players who served entirely within his tenure: Abraham Nunez, Trot Nixon and Ramon Martinez. I have trouble believeing any of them were ever Mets.
Evans, who was released by the Mets for the millionth time following the season, accepted free agency at last and promptly signed a minor-league deal with the Pirates for whom he stands at least a slim chance of going all Heath Bell on us. I’ll remember a smashing Saturday debut in Colorado that might have saved Willie Randolph’s job for a few weeks at least but few other highlights until a modest garbage-time showing this year. His absense leaves a void in the No. 6 heritage that surely will be filled by a scrub we haven’t met yet.
If No. 6 has a counterpart on the pitching side, No. 38 would be a contender. It last belonged to lefty Chris Capuano who parlayed his irritating mediocrity in Metville into a 2-year deal with the Dodgers. I never much understood the regard for Capuano whose 5th-inning crooked numbers arrived like clockwork and guaranteed the bullpen took a beating every night he worked, and, we were reminded, he never missed a start.
That kind of reliability, hopefully with a little more success, will have to be bought anew, perhaps at the Winter Meetings beginning this weekend in Dallas.
Finally you may have seen Bobby Valentine trying on the No. 25 jersey as the new manager of the Red Sox. It’s great to see him back.
So here we are at the All-Star Break and I think we’d all agree that getting here with a prayer of contending for the playoffs without Ike Davis, David Wright, Johan Santana, and with Jason Bay having the kind of year he’s having is a kind of small miracle and for that Terry Collins has our gratitude and this team has my admiration. But let’s not kid ourselves: Only a very hot start to the second half is going to make a difference if and when the calvary returns. Sandy Alderson would be a fool not to at least entertain offers for our guys big and small in the meantime and pull the trigger if the returns blow him away. Why not? At any rate, I’m finding it difficult to imagine that the cheap, useful guys (Capuano, Isringhausen, Hairston, Paulino) stick around and I hope we can get out from under the Frankie Rodriguez deal at some point.
In the meantime you haven’t heard a whole lot from me in part because June was an especially light month on the transaction wire for the Mets. How light? Well, according to my roster expert Jason, there were no Met debuts in the month of June at all. Excluding Octobers and the strike-shortened August 1994, it’s only the third month since August of 1993 there have been no Met debuts and the first time since June of 2007 that no new Met arrived.
We are checking in to note the recent return of Nick Evans and salute the poor kid both for his home run the other night and his roachlike ability to remain an option — but never the first one — for the Mets for four straight years now. In each of the last four seasons Evans had at least two separate stints with the team which has got to be approaching a record, thanks in part to twice escaping a claim by other clubs when exposed to waivers this year and subsequently electing to remain with the organization as opposed to trying his luck elsewhere. If he’s not a perfect Met No. 6 nobody is. Cheers, Nick!
Always a bummer when one of your key guys breaks his back, but what’s Jason Bay’s excuse? His failure to put the ball in play last night loomed large in a revolting 2-1 extra inning home loss to the Marlins last night that was followed by the announcement that two additional culprits — noodle-batted reserve infielder Chin-lung Hu, and hopeless relief hack Ryota Igarashi — would be headed to Class AAA Buffalo. I know it’s impossible and counterproductive, but I’d send Bay there with them just to punish him. In a bus.
Recalled to take the places of Hu and Igarshi are Ruben Tejada and Pedro Beato, respectively. Tejada was with the Mets last season assigned No. 11; Beato will retake the No. 27 he wore earlier this year.
As for David Wright, he has a broken back requiring at least a few weeks of rest. Met officials say it’s likely he’ll hit the disabled list today and be replaced on the roster by perpetual tourist Nick Evans and his trusty No. 6 jersey.
Bonus for the first commenter to recognize the obscure headline reference!
As dubbed by commenter Gordon in the below post the Mets could run out the “Luis Luis” keystone combination with the recall of infielder Luis Hernandez from the minor leagues. Hernandez, whom I’m already confusing with that Ramon Martinez guy we played at second base near the end of the ’08 season, will wear No. 3 and presumably stick around only until Jose Reyes feels better. Jesus Feliciano was again returned to Buffalo to make room.
The Mets before the game introduced Matt Harvey, their top selection from the draft this June, and presented him with a No. 35 jersey. I’m heading off on vacation and might be tardy with updates over the next week: Expect the usual suspects to be recalled (Feliciano, Nick Evans, maybe even Sean Green) and hopefully a few new faces (Lucas Duda, who couldn’t possibly be a worse candidate to get outfield starts than Jeff Francoeur) but those may not come immediately as Buffalo fights for a playoff spot.
As always you can stay in touch here. Mets by the way keep extending that contiguous-points-at-.500 streak: At 64-64 they are now at 12 straight. They are very average.
For the first time in 15 years, the Mets have a player wearing No. 2.
The team on Friday recalled infielder Justin Turner from Class AAA Buffalo and assigned him uni No. 2: A shirt that belonged to coaches Sandy Alomar and Gary Pettis, and manager Bobby Valentine, since 1995, when Damon Buford wore No. 2. The Mets were close to another issue of No. 2 this spring until Frank Catalanotto switched to No. 27 at the dawn of the season.
Who’s Justin Turner anyway? According to the Internet, he’s a righthanded-hitting middle infielder who, like Damon Buford, came to the Mets via Baltimore (We recalled the Damon Buford Story here earlier this year). The Mets claimed Turner on waivers in May of this year when the Orioles designated him for assignment while activating Brian Roberts. Turner, who had a cup of coffee with O’s last September wearing No. 83 (wow!), arrived in Baltimore via Cincinnati in theRamon Hernandez trade. He was a 7th round draft selection of the Reds in 2006.
As a second baseman in Buffalo, Turner was hitting .297/.342/.400 in 193 plate appearances. He was activated in favor of Nick Evans, who returns to AA Binghamton, in part because he provides better middle-infield depth with Jose Reyes unavailable for an undetermined period of time, and in part because Evans wears No. 6 and that’s what happens to those guys.
Don’t look now but the Mets are in full-blown struggle mode again, with a dry offense and pointless bunting punctating a punchless 4-2 loss to the rival Braves Friday. The Mets played without disappointing import Ryota Igarashi, demoted all the way to Class A St. Lucie to get his stuff together and give the Mets a righthanded bench bat Jerry didn’t bother using in Nick Evans, recalled from Class AA Binghamton. Evans has been bobbing between the minors and the Met roster now for three seasons and seemingly spent much of the last one in Jerry Manuel’s doghouse, ideal for a Met No. 6.
Cliff Lee’s trade to the Rangers this afternoon seems to have officially opened the doors on deadline trading season, and it will be interesting and probably exasperating to see what the Mets do and don’t do with the opportunity this year. In the event you were wondering: Ted Lilly wears 30 and Roy Oswalt 44.
Don’t forget this Monday, July 12, is Amazin’ All-Star Monday at Two Boots at Grand Central Station, where Greg Prince and I will co-host an evening of Met-centric discussion with Howard Megdal, author, journalist and self-professed candidate for Mets general manager; and Marty Noble, Mets beat writer for more than 30 years at the Bergen Record, Newsday and MLB.com. Marty will be taking questions from the audience, and Two Boots will be serving pizza and drinks. Please stop in: Details at the Facebook invite here.
When a friend asked today how I thought the Mets might do over the next 20 games — a so-called brutal stretch in the schedule during which we see the Rays, Cardinals, MFYankees, Brewers, Phillies and Dodgers, with a make-up game from the Pirates thrown in there — I flippantly suggested 19-1. The Pirates are still on the schedule, after all.
Yes, that’s probably going to go down as a wildly optimistic stab at the road ahead but I think I have a pretty good shot at nailing an underlying trend here: That is, we’re due. I’m thinking here that the horrifying events of the last week or so steel these guys, and they start to put together the kind of run I’d like to think they have in them.Church and Murphy and even Schnieder are starting to hit. We’re beginning at last to have what passes for a “regular” lineup while Reyesand Delgado sit.
Last year, at around this time, Jerry’s Kids started making their own move and, if you’ll again pardon the enthusiasm, I’d like to believe the dumb decisions and passive approaches of April and May manifest thesmelves as experience and self-awareness that will guide them through June, July and August.
I could be wrong through. But is 12-8 too much to ask? All teams will have a stretch of 12 out of 20 at some point, and I’m thinking this could be ours.
Thanks for the folks below confirming that Nick Evans indeed was in uniform No. 6 tonight and shown chatting with Ramon Martinez, who’s on the disabled list but may return in time to find his fourth uni number waiting for him (I’d already forgotten he spent an evening in No. 26 earlier this year, in addition to 6 this year, and 22 last year).
Thanks also to the friends new and old who showed up Thursday at Two Boots Tavern’s “Metstock” event. A good crowd heard a reading of a brillant chapter of Stanley Cohen’s A Magic Summer; several adventures in Faith and Fear; and a dorky guy talk about the unassailable Jeff McKnight. It was all fun till the 9th.
Just a brief message to note Nick Evans is back with the Mets after Fernando Martinez was sent to AAA after a short, semi-successful tryout. You’ll remember Evans wore No. 6 in his runs with the Mets last season but after nearly making the club out of spring training (only Gary Sheffield’s late arrival cost him) Evans suffered a brutal start at AAA Buffalo and was sent to see psychologists and Binghamton instead and in the in-between Ramon Martinez got a brief infield gig wearing No. 6.
We’ll let you know what he shows up in — I would guess 6 just for its ubiquitousness but then things could get interesting (for me at least) if and when Marttinez reappears, since he’s already been in tweo numbers.
(Thanks to Gene for the awesome headline)
… and a Huskey New Year!
* Two of the four wearers of the No. 6 jersey last year, Gustavo Molina and Trot Nixon, have signed minor league deals with other clubs. Washington inked Molina last week, while Nixon will try and make it as a walk-on with Milwaukee. And you can add Abraham Nunez to the list of those we won’t likely see again (has ever there been a more pointless Met?), leaving only Nick Evans as a survivor — and not a sure one at that.
* Derek Lowe? Wore 32 with the Red Sox and 23 with the Dodgers. Carlos Muniz has appeared intermittentlkt in 32 over the last two seasons. 23 belongs to Brian Schneider whom I still think may not come back.
* Sure, the Yankees are creeps for signing a bunch of $20 million players this winter but before we hand over the division let’s not forget Sabathia only replaces Mussina, who had an excellent year last year; Texiera replaces Giambi who was pretty good too, and Burnett’s an unreliable douche. For a third place team, the Yankees are trying awful hard.
* Manny? Maybe?