I’m still having trouble believing that Jenrry Mejia, along with Ruben Tejada, apparently have made the Mets’ opening-day squad and along with the usual caution you should take with all 20-year-olds who’ve yet to play above Class AA, it should be exciting to see what these kids have to offer.
I’m also interested to see what they’ll be wearing. Mejia as discussed below was outfitted in No. 76 this spring and as outrageous as it’d be I’d be tempted to leave him in that jersey both as a reminder of his age and a symbol of his unique place within the Met family. Tejada has apparently won a job the old-fashioned way: He caught the ball better than his counterparts in a competition for a middle-infield job, as compromised as Jose Reyes‘s medical misadventaures made it. He hit pretty well too.
Tejada was wearing No. 79 this spring and will certainly have a new jersey by Monday. No. 3 was recently vacated by Chris Coste and makes perfect sense; 10 (issued to and taken from longshot Andy Green for the second straight spring) would be another strong possibility.
Other late cuts Friday included Kiko Calero, whom I thought would have been a lock if only for his pedigree; hapless punching bag Nelson Figueroa; Bobby Parnell, who had less going for him than Meija a year ago when he turned in two solid months of setup relief; veteran Elmer Dessens; infielder Russ Adams; and reserve hopeful Chris Carter who probably didn’t get a real fair shake at winning a job at first base. The winners along with Mejia and Tejada included utilityman Frank Catalanotto and one of either Sean Green or Raul Valdes. The latter came out of nowhere — he wore No. 96, the highest in camp — to challenge for a lefty specialist role. We’ll try to keep you updated on what the Easter Bunny leaves these guys. …
It may not ever come to anything but happened to notice when the Mets today moved to claim lefthanded pitcher Jay Marshall off waivers from the Athletics. Marshall, a true submariner in the Chad Bradford style, continues a trend among Omar Minaya’s Mets teams to include or at least invite a few trick pitchers to camp each year. Marshall this spring will join the lefty-righty siderarm tandem of Pedro Feliciano and Sean Green (and another candidate with an unusual offering, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey). There was Joe Smith and Bradford before that, and guys like Steve Schmoll and Shingo Takatsu were given a shot.
Is this a good thing? I’m not entirely sure. While Feliciano has become one of the Mets’ best weapons vs. rival lefty sluggers and Green and Smith often got grounders when they needed them I’d prefer sometimes they could achieve these successes without also tempting the Mets to try and solve all their problems with matchups and specialists. It can grind games to a halt, for one thing, and all seems so delicate: One specialist springs a leak, and suddenly the whole ship is sinking. We’ve seen it before.
On the other hand, sidearmers are fun to watch when they’re going well and the Mets’ desire to bring these creatures in house indicates some evidence they have a plan, and I like that kind of reassurance.
At any rate, surely we’re in a Golden Age for Met sideslingers. I barely remember a one from my childhood when guys like Kent Tekulve, Elias Sosa and Dan Quisenberry were someone else’s property. David Cone was known to get sideways occasionally, and Jeff Innis was a durable middle-inning submariner for a long stretch, — and there was Jesse –but I’m going blank after that, although I’m sure I’m overlooking a few. Little help?
Today the Mets recalled Fernando Nieve from AAA Buffalo to take the place of JJ Putz who finally stopped pretending there wasn’t something wrong with his arm. Nieve has reportedly been assigned No. 38. Nieve wore No. 50 in spring training, but that number went to Sean Green once Green decided he was unworthy of comparisons to Aaron Heilman(how right he was) and swapped in No. 48.
Not to say I told you so but we smelled trouble long before this Putz-Green-Heilman deal ever got done inasmuch as “addition by subtraction” is a concept that works great in opinion columns and talk radio but rarely on the baseball field. I’m not saying that time hadn’t come to swap away Heilman (not to mention Endy Chavez, Joe Smith, Jason Vargas, Makiel Cleto,and Mike Carp) but seeing as we’re looking at a $9 million fat guy having elbow surgery, a righty specialist who’s already lost his job, and a reserve outfielder, this whole deal is looking pretty much like “subtraction by subtraction” so far.
Nieve by the way will be the third Fernando in uniform for the Mets, which has to be some kind of record.
Let me start by saying Sean Green is welcome to request any number he desires and for any reason he wants.So if he prefers 50 to 48, then fine. But, couldn’t he do it in a way that wasn’t unkind to a guy whose career to this point he ought to be aspiring to and not passively disrespecting? I mean, come on, Sean. Make up a story about your Mom’s birthday or something. No need to pile on poor Aaron Heilman. He’s suffered enough. (He’s pitching for the Cubs as a I write this — wearing No. 47 in the 8th inning of a tie game at Houston).
And if you really wanted to disassociate yourself from a recent disappointing Mets reliever, could you do any worse than selecting the number worn last by Duaner Sanchez? The guy whose brilliant half-season ended in a mysterious car accident, and who then showed up out-of-shape for camp, and who was nowhere to be found in the hour of the Mets’ greatest need last season?
But I’m not here to bury Sanchez either. I wish him well in San Diego, — he made the team — and is still wearing No. 50. I’ll admit I chucked when I saw Scott Schoeneweis in his first appearance for the D-Backs yesterday surrendered a home run, but I’m not going to boo the next guy who wears No. 60 for the Mets. What’s the use?
This morning’s Daily News reports that Sean Green — the reliever acquired in the Heilman/Chavez-Putz deal and assigned the same No. 48 previously issued to Aaron Heilman — has requested a new uniform before opening day .
Green, according to the article requested the change fearing fans will associate the number with Heilman and presumably, exhibit the same appalling lack of support and sportsmanship they showed Heilman last year when he struggled. Beside the fact that the Met fan behavior has devolved to a point where that scenario is entirely possible, it sure is ironic that the same fans will likely applaud this act of cowardice from their newest reliever. They are also no doubt the same fans demanding the Mets take numbers out of circulation for accomplished players as well.
To be fair to Green, his number in Seattle, 54, was already occupied by coach Dave Racianello when he arrived, though it’s not as if he possessed the brand equity to dictate that stuff to his new club either.
Anyhow, with the roster now set barring injury, etc., the following numbers appear to be available should Green want one of them: 10, 12, 26, 27, 29, 30, 32, 35, 38, 45, 47, 49 and 50. Many of those numbers would be reserved for those assigned to the minor leagues, so the likely candidates, in my estimation, would be 30 (vacated by Rocky Cherry) or 38 (formerly Tom Martin). Those numbers have cooties too, Green.
We’ll stay on top of this developing story, you can be sure.
The Mets are expected within the hour to announce their part in a three-team, multiplayer swap meet that will make former Mariners JJ Putz, Sean Green and Jeremy Reed Mets.
If I have this scored right, Aaron Heilman, Endy Chavez and prospect Mike Carp are en route to Seattle and Joe Smith is off to Cleveland, which is collecting various other jetsam from Emerald City. The prize in this deal is Putz, who presumably takes over Heilman’s role in the 8th inning and hopefully doesn’t inherit his demeanor: You know he’s every bit the closer Francisco Rodriguez is. Green is tall right-handed reliever, who’s death on righties, clobbered by lefties and a ground-ball machine a la the departed Bazooka Joe; and Reed, like Chavez when he arrived back in New York, is a faltering one-time leadoff prospect with a noodle bat but good defensive skills.
So with the roles aligned, seems it’s only a matter of having parted with Carp. ( Edited to add, also Jason Vargas and about 50 more low-level prospects too I see now, not sure where they’re off to).
As for the impact on jersey numbers, 48, 35 and 10 are set free. Putz wears No. 20, which is available if coach Howard Johnson gives the OK (he will); Green wore54 (he’ll be dressed in something lower, let’s say 35) and Reed wore 8(uncomfortably unissued now for 8 years). Put Reed in 10, Johnson in 54 and we’ll have ourselves a multiplayer uni-swap as well.
Thanks to all the contributors who kept up to date round the clock on the Rodriguez Jersey Watch — he’s apparently gone with 75 as suspected. A Met first.