Less than a month into the season and we’ve already seen promotions for the two guys who caught my eye in spring training: Since-demoted infielder Danny Muno and now, lefthanded-hitting third-catcher dynamo Johnny Monell.
Monell, as he’d modeled during Spring Training, takes the largely undistinguished uni No. 19 which I associate most strongly, for whatever reason, with Ron Gardenhire. Though Tim Foli wants in the picture too. Irascible TV personality Bobby Ojeda is still the most accomplished of the 35 guys who have worn 19 for the Mets, a group whose luminaries include diminutive relievers Daniel Ray Hererra and Tom “The Blade” Hall and fat one Heath Bell; outfield disasters Roger Cedeno and Ryan Church; Lenny Harris, who specialized in pinch-hits; Mike Hessman, who specialized in minor league home runs; and Anthony Young, who specialized in losing.
Welcome aboard, Johnny. We need all the help we can get.
The move by the way followed the reintroduction of Dilson Hererra to the Mets lineup and a recasting of last September’s arrangement whereby Dilson manned second base and Daniel Murphy third base. I think it’s pretty clear that Murphy’s days as a Mets starter are nearing their end. If he becomes the left-handed pinch-hitter that Kirk Nieuwenhuis isn’t this year or Johnny Monell might be, great. If not?
Great article by Sporting News scribe Jesse Spector on the curious, rarely issued No. 69, worn more often by Pirates than by all other teams combined.
Never too late, as far as I’m concerned, to vote in the poll predicting Fernando Martinez‘s uniform number. Although the watch was a false alarm last year, with martinez destroying it in AAA Buffalo and Ryan Church the latest Met to be suffering injury (the NY Daily News reports a trip to the disabled list is under consideration, especially while Carlos Beltran nurses a sore knee) it’s possible we could see “Fartinez” as soon as this evening.
Martinez is wearing No. 3 in Buffalo (Alex Cora occupies it here) and had 67 in spring training. The poll — pretty much neglected for months — showed some support for No. 8 perhaps as a backlash for the Mets seeming reluctance to re-issue since Gary Carter‘s election to the Hall of Fame along with Carter’s gauche politicking for the managing job.
Hey, how about that Omir Santos?
Watching the Met debut of Tim Redding, who tonight will become the 860th Met of all-time.
Redding will be suited up in No. 44 — which belonged to four different guys last year, none of whom I could have told you had I not just looked it up myself, I don’t think. If you’re interested in making a guess in the comments section, go ahead, I won’t say who they are.
Redding’s accompanying lineup is a little goofy — a continuation of the stuff we saw last night where Fernando Tatis played short and Jerry Manuel, once again, made a baffling pinch-hitting call that blew up his face with the game on the line. Yet, Angel Pagan starts tonight in left while Daniel Murphy and Ryan “Doghouse” Church once again sit.
The shortstop is Ramon Martinez, called up because of a thumb injury to Alex Cora who is going onto the DL today too and Jose Reyes is still unavailable (Mackey Shillstone?). You might remember Martinez as the only Met who could buy a hit in the last week of the season last yea. He was wearing No. 22 then but with that jersey since reassigned to JJ Putz, we’ll have to wait and see what he turns up in. (Updated: He’s wearing No. 26)
Seems like only a moment ago I was praising the flexibility of this roster but this is about as stretched out as I’d like to go right now. Carlos Delgado, you may have heard, is on his way to the operating room and I can’t imagine he reappears until August or so.
Redding’s recall, by the way, meant another demotion for Nelson Figueroa — who came and went without an appearance — and a continuing tour for Ken Takahashi.
Right you are, Ken.
Welcome back, Ryan Church. The brain-damaged Mets right fielder returned Friday after a lengthy absense while superfluous catcher Robinson Cancel was sent back down to AAA. A more difficult, Obama-picks-a-running-mate type question faces the Mets on Saturday, when unpopular second baseman Luis Castillo is expected to return from an extended break during which he was barely missed.
To be honest the solution ought to be clear if painful —Argenis Reyes for all his good press isn’t the kind of hitter you couldn’t do without for a few days and to my knowledge only plays second base, so Castillo is probably an upgrade. Castillo in fact makes fewer outs than either Reyes or Damion Easley, and if actually and finally healthy, then he’s the player they probably ought to have out there. A strong offensive showing out of the gate is essential though.
If Reyes won’t go down you wonder how seriously they’re ready to consider Duaner Sanchez who clearly isn’t the same as he once was, while Luis Ayala is (what he was once but wasn’t recently).
Met-Lovin’ Big Shot George Thorogood is a guest on this week’s episode of Mets Weekly on SNY, airing at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The SNY people pursued Lonesome George as a profile subject after seeing the interview published here.
Ryan Church is headed back to the DL, and Nick Evans has been recalled.
If you’re following the numbers you’ll know this creates a minor controversy in that Evans number the last time he was up — 6 — belongs currently to Trot Nixon. But as spied on tonight’s telecast, Evans was back in No. 6. While the prospect of this issue coming to a head upon Nixon’s return to the team is unlikely — you’d figure Evans would be the first in line for demotion when Trot is eligible to return following the All-Star Break — but with Chris Aguila and Argenis Reyes hanging around, and Marlon Anderson barely hanging on to his pinch-hitting role, it’s no sure thing.
While commenters below have pointed out that Evans and Nixon could conceivably share a number, I figure the Mets would ask one or the other to consider other availables: 8(will they ever get to Gary Carter Day?); 12 (most recently belonging to Willie Randolph); 16 (another disabled outfielder, Angel Pagan); 22 (nominally still awaiting a return of Jose Valentin); 32 (recently demoted pitcher Carlos Muniz). Perhaps 43?
Anyway, get well already, Churchy.
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The below post suggested the series in Philadelphia over the weekend could reveal much about the Mets, and most of it was good, even if the opener on July 4 had me mentally throw in the towel, at least for the time being. They have an opportunity now to make hay right into the break and for the first time they look like they’re capable. I mean, they convincingly beat a team that was worse then them for the first time in months.
OK, so now that Johan Santana is in the fold and will presumably slip on a No. 57jersey at a press event sometime next week, there’s still the matter of the other new guys and what they’ll turn up in when spring training begins later this month.
What new guys? Well, those indicated by the “–” symbol alongside their names on themets.com 40-man roster: Pitchers Ruddy Lugo; Steven Register, Brian Stokes and Matt Wise; and outfielders Ryan Church and Angel Pagan. Catcher Brian Schneider is also indicated with a double-en-space, but we’re reasonably sure he’s headed for the No. 23 jersey photographed below and Marlon Anderson will change into something new.
Normally at this time of year the Mets do their fans the courtesy of scheduling a Winter Caravan in which their guys visit sick kids in the hospital and hit tourist landmarks for photo-ops while wearing their newly-assigned jerseys, but perhaps because of the relative lack of good news to share until very recently, they called it off this year. They didn’t have one last year either and they set an attendance record. Go figure.
Anyhow, none of the pitchers but for maybe Wise has enough number-equity than to take what they’re assigned this spring and it may not be pretty. Register, a longshot Rule 5 reliever, may follow the suit of last year’s counterpart Mitch Wylie and show up in 59. We’ll predict low 60s in fact for all the pitchers but Wise whom we predict ought to scoop up the available 38. Stokes (41 last year for Tampa Bay) and Lugo (45 for Oakland) will obviously be shopping for new digits in the event they make the squad.
And until just recently I would have pegged the lack of a press conference welcoming Ryan Church to the fold as evidence of their preparedness to flip him away in a trade but now I suppose it’s safe to present him with the 19 jersey he wore with Washington most recently. Pagan, No. 29 in Chicago last year, will likely have to give that up for incumbent Jorge Sosa. He could be a 9, maybe.
Know different? Say so below.
Thanks for the welcome from Mike’s Mets.
Ladies and gentlemen, Flushing is burning.
Reluctant to rest upon a history of historically stupid dealmaking, the Mets have reportedly coughed up Lastings Milledge 44 in a trade for Washington Nationals players Ryan Church and Brian Schnieder. Wow. Schneider, who wears No. 23 with Washington, at one time was a pretty heads-up defensive player but has never been a good hitter and in fact is quite a bad one, appears to spell an early end to the Metly career of erstwhile backstop Johnny Estrada. Church, a lefthanded hitting insect type who’s actually better than I would have guessed though only about as good as Milledge is right now, was seen most recently wearing No. 19. Both guys could conceiveably retain their digits in 2008 but it would mean a third career uni number for Marlon Anderson.
Now, I’m not one of those guys vulnerable to misplacing my faith in every young kid who tears up the Florida State League; nor do I believe that Milledge’s various acts of youthful idiocy ought not to be a cause for concern. What I worry about are the Mets seemingly never learning not to let their guys go so easily.
More harrowing news to follow at the Winter Meetings.