Quick update on the first Met Uni Controversy of the 06 offseason: Veteran outfielder Moises Alousigned a 1-year deal today and was presented with the No. 18 jersey. That number belonged last season to Jose Valentin, who was also re-signed recently. Newsday relates that Valentin willingly surrendered the digits after learning who asked for them: “You tell him he’s got the number.”
The guess here is that Valentin resurfaces in No. 22, a number that last season belonged to Xavier Nady then to Michael Tucker.
In other news the Mets dealt Nov. 15 for outfielder Ben Johnson (No. 4) and pitcher Jon Adkins (No. 57) of the Padres: Going to Petco are relievers Heath Bell 19 and Royce Ring 43. Should Johnson make the roster, he could remain in No. 4 since it doesn’t appear Chris Woodward is coming back. The Mets further cleared their roster of homegrown relief prospects by sending a pair of hard-throwers, Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom, to Florida for two lefty projects: Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick. Owens made a brief appearance for the Mets last season wearing No. 36; we might have smelled a deal cooking in back in September when the Mets issued that number to a backup catcher, Kelly Stinnett. Vargas, who wore No. 56 for the Marlins last season is the guy with the best chance to make something of himself though he hasn’t done so yet. Bostick has yet to crack the majors.
Also: Vetejourneyutilityman Damion Easley was added as a free agent. Easley’s been everywhere, man, but most recently in Arizona and Florida, he was wearing No. 2. That number currently belongs to coach Sandy Alomar.
Now that September has arrived, the Mets are reportedly looking to promote several minor leaguers, in addition to Heath Bell 19 and Royce Ring 43, who were activated Friday.
Considering Sunday’s performance by Mike DiFelice 6, there’s little doubt catcher Kelly Stinnett will be among them: Stinnett is a returning Met who was last seen wearing No. 33 in 1995 (that number currently belongs to John Maine). Also slated to return, reports say, are Lastings Milledge 44, Mike Pelfrey 34, Brian Bannister 40, Ricky Ledee 9, and newly arriving prospect Phillip Humber.Humber, should he see action, would become the 799th man to play in a Met uniform: Barring any additional shenanigans, that means we’re likely to see the 800th Met on opening day next year.
Just back from Big Shea where we were treated to a thrilling walk-off win that included a successful debut for new reliever Guillermo Mota, dressed in the No. 59 jersey he made famous as the involuntary sparring partner of Mike Piazza. Mota is only the third 59 in Met history but the second this year — last we saw Alay Soler, walking dejectedly off the mound at Yankee Stadium in early July, he was wearing 59 too. You have to go all the way back to 1980 and the debut of Ed Lynch to find the third.
Mota was acquired Monday for the everpopular Player to be Named Later. Royce Ring 43 was optioned to Norfolk to make room for Mota.
Shortly before Carlos Beltran’s heroics, the stadium scoreboard informed us that Shawn Greenwould be arriving shortly, acquired, along with $6.3 million, from the Diamondbacks, for AAA leftyEvan MacLane. One thing we shouldn’t expect is for Green’s No. 15 jersey to accompany him: That belongs to Beltran. May we suggest 25? Tune in Thursday to find out.
The Mets today sent Mike Pelfrey 34 back to Norfolk for more work and rather than recall Heath Bell, they gave Royce Ring a ring. Ring last appeared in a Met uni last summer wearing No. 22, but despite it being available again — or perhaps in deference to the memory of the recently departed Xavier Nady — Ring suited up tonight in No. 43, which belonged earlier this year to injured releiver Bartolome Fortunato. Pelfrey’s demotion is a vote of confidence for John Maine 33, and his excellent stretch of starts.
Roberto Hernandez and Pedro Feliciano both appeared in tonight’s game, wearing 49 and 39, respectively. We were reminded today of Deadline Uni Controversies of the past when reader Joseph submitted a regrettable one from 1989 — Juan Samuel’s failure to retain the No. 8 belonging to Gary Carter. Samuel settled for 7.
The Mets arrived in Denver tonight with journeyman righthander Jose Santiago wearing No. 33.Santiago was recalled from Norfolk Sunday when Heath Bell 19 was demoted and informed he needs to develop a change-up. No. 33 was issued earlier this year to backup catcher Mike DiFelice.
The Mets announced Friday that first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz 16 has returned from a rehab stint and that cobwebby pinch-hitter Brian Daubach 13 was returned to Norfolk. They also promoted Norfolk closer Juan Padilla and returned lefty Royce Ring 22 to the farm. Padilla comes to the Mets having had an excellent half-season at Norfolk and Ring’s demotion seems to suggest that infuriating starter Kaz Ishii 23 will get a look in the pen. Padilla was assigned No. 28, which for two years sat patiently awaiting the return of Scott Strickland.
Two regulars on the shelf from Day 1 return this afternoon when Kris Benson 34 makes his first start and Mike Cameron 44 plays right field. To make room the Mets sent reliever Royce Ring 22 and starter Jae Seo 26 to the minors. Tough break for Seo, who pitched better than both Tom Glavine and Victor Zambrano during his stay. He may be back if either of those two continue to struggle.
The Mets abruptly released veteran reliever Mike Matthews 27 on Monday and called up Norfolk lefty Royce Ring to the big club. Ring, who arrived in the refreshing 2003 trade that sent Roberto Alomar to the White Sox, suited up Tuesday in No. 22, which last belonged to lefty Al Leiter.
As reported by Marty Noble at MLB.com, Ring said he won’t be confused with his predecessor: “I don’t have a cutter, I’ll tell you that.” Over the weekend, a sore muscle put starter Kaz Ishii 23 on the disabled list; in his place the Mets recalled Jae Seo, who remains in No. 26.
The Mets ended one of the most dysfunctional relationships in team history today by sending aloof second baseman Smilin’ Robbie Alomar 12 to the White Sox for three minor leaguers including promising AA reliever Royce Ring, about whom headline writers are already drooling. Alomar, whose attitude was never sterling even before he was acquired by Steve Phillips, was poorly prepared to deal with declining skills — as were Mets fans, not surprisingly — and no doubt welcomes the divorce. We wind up with custody of the two disappointing years and he the memory of New York writers when it comes time to fill out that Hall of Fame ballot. Sorry, Robbie: It wasn’t us, it was you.