I didn’t have the courage to stay up past the seventh inning of last night’s game in Arizona but gathered from the box score that it turned out alright if you can forgive the shakiness of the 8th and 9th and while overlooking that Mets managed only two baserunners against the entire Diamondback bullpen amid David Wright’s growing slump.
I’d be more optimistic today if I knew there were an offensive version of Matt Harvey down there at AAA ready to make the next step, but I don’t see one. And looking realistically at the organization, you’d figure there’s a need to replace as many as three outfielders; get a catcher who can hit; and probably, a better second baseman before they’re ready to adequately support guys like Harvey, Wheeler and whatever else the more developed pitching pipeline produces. What I’m saying is, maybe the club will make a trade or two before the clock strikes midnight Tuesday. And if so, let’s hope they produce hitters that can help tomorrow and not relief pitchers for tonight.
Have we seen the last of Lucas Duda? The big lefty looked promising for a while, but hasn’t hit with enough power this year to forgive his poor glove and this week was banished to AAA Buffalo. If the Mets think Ike Davis has put his nightmares behind him and is the better bet at first base, Duda could go in one of the trades. Anyway, he’s down, Manny Acosta is back up, Mike Nickeas is down, Rob Johnson is back up, Pedro Beato is down, and Matt Harvey looks awfully good in No. 33.
I’ve never seen Elvin Ramirez in a Mets uniform so don’t have any idea what number he’ll turn up in when he arrives Friday. He’d been with the Mets organization since he was a teenager, but only began to enter the radar screen when he was selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Nationals, only to miss the year they were required to keep him with a shoulder injury. He was returned to the Mets this year, and he’s been kicking ass in Buffalo, so he will get the call, likely at the expense of Chris Schwinden (again). Ramirez was wearing No. 36 in Buffalo, which happens to be available on the Mets now. Nos. 20, 22, 38, 45, 51 and 58 are also vacant possibilities. So I guess I do have an idea.
UPDATE: My idea is wrong again. Mets.com roster lists Ramirez in No. 62. I think we have to consider the 60s are no longer “unusual” for the Mets.
Josh Thole is also en route back, which ought to help a lot given we’ve somehow continued contending despite three weeks of Mike Nickeas and Rob Johnson, one of whom will likely get cut to make room for him. I don’t much like Johnson’s defense nor Nickeas’ offense, and each the other.
Jennry Mejia (32); Pedro Beato (27) and Chris Young (55 in his last go-round) are also on the horizon.
Catcher Rob Johnson is in uniform in Philly tonight and wearing the same No. 16 he had during Spring Training. As we’ll all remember for a long time, Jordany Valdespin was suddenly recalled to the Mets Monday when Ruben Tejada hit the disabled list, his home run capped a wild and memorable game during which Josh Thole was knocked silly in a collision with the Phillies’ Ty Wigginton — Wiggy was out — necessitating the Mets to invoke the new 7-day disabled list for concussion symptoms and recall Johnson.
Rob Johnson by the way would be the 7th Johnson to play for the Mets, and the third Robert Johnson: Bob D. Johnson and Bob W. Johnson preceded him.
It’s still early, but Lucas May is emerging as a leading candidate to win the Brad Emaus Award and graduate from a number in the 60s to something resembling a big-league uniform when training camp breaks. You may recall Emaus last year arrived in camp wearing No. 68 and left wearning No. 4. (Then busted and was subsequently sent away, but that’s another story).
May, whom the Mets acquired as a minor league free agent this offseason, so far in his career had but a cup of joe in Kansas City two years ago and previously toiled as a minor leaguer with the Dodgers, who drafted him as an infielder in 2003, and more recently, the Diamondbacks. Among catchers competing for a reserve job in Mets camp this year, the right-handed hitting May is perhaps the best offensive threat among them, a skill he showed this afternoon with a ringing two-run double off the Marlins’ Carlos Zambrano. Young incumbent Mike Nickeas and veteran Rob Johnson, also right-handed, are considered defensive specialists and could have an edge considering weak gloves at several other positions including the presumed No. 1 catcher (Josh Thole) as well as a thin pitching staff that could use any edge it can get. Vinny Rottino can hit, alledgedly, but he’s more of a utility cornerman who packs a catcher’s mitt in case of emergency. If Rottino makes the team, it’s unlikely to be at the expense of the any of the aforementioned candidates.
In May’s favor currently is the well-being of Scott Hairston, the only other right-handed bench candidate who can hit a little (Justin Turner a little too, but I don’t see how he fits in unless injuries strike Wright, Davis or Murphy). May’s current number assignment is 62 although 16 (Johnson’s assignment), 33 (Rottino’s) and the vacant 1 and 9 would look to be decent landing points from this distance.
The Hairston injury (and Andres Torres’ soreness, you never know with these 30-somethings) may well also affect the outfield makeup too. It certainly looks better today than yesterday that Adam Loewen and/or Mike Baxter make the squad, and then there’s the specter of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the young outfielder the Mets hope they won’t need so soon. Should he make the club, the Emaus Award is all his. He’s wearing No. 72.