Tag Archive for TRavis d’Arnaud

Triple Threats

18So it’s a bit of a double tragedy out there tonight. Travis d’Arnaud surrendering his favorite uni number — one he earned while Jose Reyes was drawing gigantic checks from a franchise that traded d’Arnaud away — and the Mets bending over backwards to accommodate a disgraced star when there’s no guarantee he’s anything approaching the No. 7 he once was.

Travis for his part robotically blurted out unconvincing platitudes about Reyes and Peyton Manning, and here is is, wearing his third uni number in as many years. They couldn’t even do the right thing and use this unusual situation to re-introduce No. 8 to the uni-sphere.

d’Arnaud by my count is the 28th guy to wear three or more numbers for the Mets:

Player 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Jeff McKnight 15 5 7 17 18
Kevin Collins 10 19 16 1
Pedro Feliciano 55 39 25 55
Ed Lynch 59 35 34 36
Darrell Sutherland 47 43 45
Cleon Jones 34 12 21
John Stephenson 49 19 12
Jim Hickman 9 27 6
Mike Jorgensen 10 16 22
Hank Webb 42 30 29
Hubie Brooks 62 39 7
Clint Hurdle 33 13 7
Chuck Carr 7 1 27
Kevin Elster 2 21 15
Charlie O’Brien 33 5 22
Ron Darling 44 12 15
Jason Phillips 26 7 23
David Cone 44 17 16
Jae Seo 38 40 26
Roger Craig 38 36 13
Lee Mazzilli 12 16 13
Mike DiFelice 33 6 9
Marlon Anderson 18 23 9
Ramon Martinez 22 26 6
Robinson Cancel 4 40 29
Anderson Hernandez 1 4 11
Omar Quintanilla 6 3 0
Travis d’Arnaud 15 7 18
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When Eight is Enough

7Who knows how it may affect the club’s sudden momentum but the Mets today are expected to officially add Jose Reyes to the roster, suit him in his customary No. 7 jersey (per Adam Rubin), and lead him off tonight versus the Marlins.

No word yet on a corresponding roster move although it seems likelier to me that infielder Matt Reynolds gets sent down than Alejandro De Aza is released. The latter scenario only happens if there’s a true crush on the 40-man roster, and even then, I think they’d look to trade him. Despite appearances, De Aza’s track record and versatility would indicate he’s not completely without value.

Now, onto the important stuff: With Reyes set to take over 7, it triggers yet another uni change for Travis d’Arnaud, whom I’d have advised to stay put. And while it’s possible we’ll see d’Arnaud move back to 15, especially if Reynolds vacates it, I’m proposing a unique solution to a unique problem:

Take No. 8 out of mothballs.

8The Mets haven’t issued No. 8 since 2002 (coach Matt Galante), a decision that coincided with Gary Carter’s election to baseball’s Hall of Fame. We can presume the club withheld it so as to give itself runway to retirement had Carter gone into the Hall “as a Met” and following that, in deference to his illness and tragic death in 2012. (I want to be clear I feel the first distinction is very silly and unworthy of the weight it seems to carry in the retired number debate).

But with both those events now in the rear-view, I think there’s an argument to reintroduce No. 8 when warranted, and now is that time. You have a promising young catcher basically forced into a switch, and there’s a dearth of dignified numbers out there (just 1, 18, 46 and 49). He drives you crazy with the health issues and the slumps but d’Arnaud deep down is a heck of a hitter, I think, and at any rate wouldn’t embarrass the memory of Carter (or Yogi Berra, also a numerical descendant) any more than the second coming of Jose Reyes might insult the first Reyes era. The Mets in fact gave No. 8 time off between Yogi’s stints as a player (1965-72) and a manager (1975-79), but those periods came to an end too.

I supported the Mets’ good taste and sensitivity while they withheld No. 8 then and now, but the time has come to reintroduce it. Give the Kid No. 8!

*

PS — Quick note to acknowledge the arrival and departure of Seth Lugo and the first No. 67 in club history last week! I missed that traveling last week.

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Mayday!

36Hate to have to point out the obvious but May’s been a terrible month for the Mets so far, with nearly the entire lineup slumping, injuries to a starting pitcher and catcher, and a schedule that’s only starting to get difficult.

Travis d’Arnaud wasn’t doing much at the plate or behind it before a shoulder injury nicked him but he’s not getting out of his slump on the DL. I’ve always been a little wary of Steven Matz’s health and so his elbow soreness worries me too.

Reinforcement arrived late this week when lefty Sean Gilmartin was recalled and Wilmer Flores hit the DL. Gilmo is back in the familiar No. 36 and strirrups. Down Flores and d’Arnaud, we’re especially vulnerable to lefties.

Can we get Curtis Granderson (.146/.196/.333 in May); Neil Walker (.121/.216/.152); Lucas Duda (.189/.318/.459) and Michael Conforto (.143/.200/.262) going again? Now? Thanks!

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Stand in the Place Where You Were

Green-R.E.M.44If you ever had a vinyl copy of the GREEN album by REM, and sat around your dorm room listening to it instead of going to class or planning a future, you might have noticed that if you tilted the cover just the right way toward the light, a feint opaque image of the number “4” appeared wherever an “R” did.

I was reminded of that this afternoon when word came that Travis d’Arnaud was hurt — you don’t say — and that Class AAA catcher Rene Rivera was called up to take his place. Not that you’d want to, but if you could tilt Rene Rivera to the light just the right way, maybe you’d see this RR reflects a 44. Cuz, you see, that’s his number, according to the lightning fast fingers of ESPN’s Adam Rubin, reporting from CitiField where Rivera makes his Met debut tonight as Kevin Plawecki’s backup.

Rivera, a 31-year-old veteran of four other organizations, signed a AAA contract with the Mets earlier this month and had been hitting .280 in Las Vegas. He wore 44 as a member of the Padres and Rays.

Guys, I’ll be making my Citifield debut tonight. Should we talk about the weather?

 

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Coach Creep, and How to Stop It

18Great points turning up in the comments in the below post from my furry alien friend Alf Tanner regarding potential numerical maneuverings in light of the Mets’ pursuit of Ben Zobrist, and the departure of bench coach Bob Geren, who announced last week he was taking a similar role with the Dodgers.

In both instances, it raises the issue of the increasing incidence in Metland of what I’m calling Coach Creep — the occupation of uni numbers that ought to belong to players among non-players.

15Geren, you may recall, wore No. 7 during his first season on Terry Collins’ staff in 2014 – a decision that we learned inadvertently blocked the preferred jersey of young catcher Travis d’Arnaud upon his promotion later that year. d’Arnaud, as we know, was issued 15 instead until arranging a swap with Geren before the 2015 season.

30Only that, as Alf correctly points out, may only have kicked the can. Michael Conforto was wearing 15 at Class AA Binghamton when he was recalled in July only to find the same coach squatting on that number so Conforto took the awkward 30 instead. Conforto, as we know, is no Josh Thole and is on Switch Watch as we approach Spring Training.

6It’s not just Geren, neither. Darrell Ceciliani and Eric Young Jr. were each assigned No. 1 last year — despite being obvious No. 6’s — in part because assistant hitting coach Pat Roessler took that number. Come on, Pat. Leave the single digits for the guys on the field. Why is Dario Alvarez wearing 68 and Germen Gonzalez taking 71? In part, it’s because Ricky Bones and Tom Goodwin occupy 25 and 26, respectively.

And now that the Mets are in pursuit of a noted No. 18 in Ben Zobrist, another coach, Tim Teufel, is blocking the way.

As Alf says, let’s allow the manager to choose his own outfit: Terry Collins for the record selected 10 as a tribute to Jim Leland, doncha know, and get the coaches back where they belong, dutifully occupying the 50s.

 

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The Magic is Bad

7The Mets are leading the world in costly victories. This is a weird thing to get used to, but that’s twice now this season — really thrice if you count Jenrry Mejia’s disappearing act on opening day — where the Mets came away with a big win at a big cost. Today it was Jerry Blevins and Travis d’Arnaud going down with broken bones within 15 minutes of one another.

13I’m sure the Mets will miss both of them; I feel like personally sending d’Arnaud a get-well card; he was looking like a legitimate All-Star and certainly one of the chief reasons the loss of David Wright to injury hasn’t been the blow I feared it could be. Suddenly though, we’ve got a lineup without him and Wright, and before long using Eric Campbell as your cleanup hitter is going to show.

22I’m confident Kevin Plawecki is a nice hitter but as we saw with d’Arnaud, the ascension is rarely steady. Anyway, Plawecki will be a Met on Tuesday. They’re holding No. 22 for him.

67Blevins was great too, but relief pitching is such a crapshoot. I suppose the Mets now turn to Alex Torres to get out Freddy Freeman next week. Alex and his giant hat might inspire a giggle but the way he’s handled Christian Yelich this weekend was the kind of thing that can make a good impression on a guy like Terry). The guy they’ve recalled in the meantime, Hansel Robles, is a righthander and off to a very good start in Las Vegas (reportedly throws 98 MPH gas). He wore No. 67 in Spring Training: He’d be the first 67 in regular-season history if he retains it but with numbers as common as 30, 32 and 34 sitting around unissued I suppose its anyone’s guess.

Eh, screw it. I say he becomes the first 67 ever.

Speaking of milestones I was reminded by Gordon in the comments section that we’re approaching the 1,000th Met ever, faster than we would have guessed even. Danny Muno., by our and Gordon’s count, was No. 990; Plawecki and Robles should take us to 992 and form there…?

Who’s your guess? And when?

 

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Top of the Order

So there’s Travis d’Arnaud, aka “Shoeless Aud,” wearing his new No. 7 jersey. Could you also see him in a new lineup position?

7Let me begin by saying I’m generally if not wildly optimistic for the Mets chances this year. I like the additions of Cuddyer and Mayberry. I believe that David Wright could still rebound, and I think Wilmer Flores is a bold choice in a year where offense is going to be hard to find. I think a solid starting staff and bullpen might be constructed just from what *doesn’t* make the opening-day roster this year. That’s all very encouraging.

Where I’m concerned is that they don’t really have an ideal leadoff hitter, and I worry especially that they’ll try to shoehorn Juan Lagares into that role. It’s not that I don’t believe Lagares could ever become a leadoff guy (though I have doubts), it’s that given his low walk rates and seeming luck on balls-in-play (he BABIPped at 340 vs. a league average of 300) I’d prefer he demonstrate whatever nascent leadoff skills he possesses as a 7th or 8th place hitter and let someone generally more qualified garner the extra trips and run-building opportunities that come with the role.

I’m not arguing that Travis d’Arnaud should be a leadoff hitter either, but I might be tempted to try him there sooner than I would Lagares. His walk rate is better and BABIP ought to improve, and his superior extra-base power could get us some early leads in road games, which I’d prefer over whatever advantage you might realize from Lagares’ stolen bases. Actually the club would seem to favor Curtis Granderson (or let’s face it, Kirk Nieuwenhuis) leading off, but I can see the argument for getting Grandy’s bat more in the mix off all those middle-of-the-order righties – yet another consequence of the Mets not having gathered in a lefthanded hitting shortstop over the offseason.

Who leads off for your 2015 Mets?

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Now You Tell Us

Thank goodness I’m not paying attention at work today.

The d’Arnaud-to-7 story is old news already and although the Mets are insisting it goes down this way I still have doubts it’ll go down like this when the bell rings:

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.19.00 PM

 

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Is Travis d’Arnaud changing his shirt?

7Twitter caught fire this morning with reports that Travis d’Arnaud was changing his uniform number, from 15 to 7. While I haven’t seen official confirmation yet, it appears the source is an especially revealing e-commerce site: The team’s own order-your-own-‘official’-jersey offer (only $267.99!!).

51The drop-down has plenty more to say that’s not yet on the official roster page, including assignments for newcomers John Mayberry Jr. (44); Sean Gilmartin (36); Jack Leathersich (51); Steven Matz (32); and Noah Syndergaard (34). A few other guys on the 40-man are listed in 00, which we’ll assume are unassigned still — Akeel Morris and Gabriel Ynoa. (Leathersich is also listed in 00, while Hansel Robles isn’t listed at all. Neither are the gaggle of NRIs who typically get Spring assignments in the 60s, 70s and 80s).

15We may be jumping the gun on at least some of the actual assignments. If d’Arnaud is indeed changing to 7, we’d presume Mayberry would take the vacant 15, which he wore for several years with the Phillies, rather than 44, which technically still belongs to 2014 Met and 2015 non-roster invitee Buddy Carlyle. The switch to 7 would also require that bench coach Bob Geren changes into something else, not that that’s a big deal. We’ve also heard, from a reader, that incoming hitting coach Kevin Long will wear No. 30, but still have no confirmation of that.

The move to 7 will reignite a battle for the all-time lead in hits by a single uniform number: Though 7 and occupants Ed Kranepool and Jose Reyes maintains its longtime, all-time lead, Team 5 led by David Wright as of the end of last season had pulled to within 3 hits.

Typically we’re at the time of year when such info drops officially so we expect to see the roster populate soon and answer — at least for now — the burning questions.

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Waiting on the Countdown

Hi again!

Only days until we’ll know what numbers the Mets will issue to their new personnel, and there’s a lot of it. That includes at least 12 guys on the 40-man roster yet to have been issued a number, and at least a dozen more with spring training invites. And that doesn’t include the couple of brand-name goods they may still buy this spring, Brandon Lyon (frequently but not always, 38) and Michael Bourne (most recently, 24 with Atlanta).

Let’s start with a few good guesses. Shawn Marcum wore 18 last year with Milwaukee. That gives me an uncomfortable 10-year flashback to Jeff D’Amico, like Marcum a veteran junkball pitcher via Milwaukee, recovering from an injury, wearing 18. But that would require Tim Teufel changes his shirt (could Ruben Tejada surrender 11 in a chain reaction?) Marcum also has some equity in 28, although that belongs to Daniel Murphy. 38 would work as long as they don’t issue it to Lyon should he come aboard.

Frank Francisco wore No. 50 throughout his career, but the Mets did not issue that last year and Francisco took 48. We could see him switch this year.

John Buck, acquired in the Dickey deal, wears 14 most frequently but with that retired here could wear 4 or if he dares, 44. Travis D’Arnaud appears to prefer 16. Zach Wheeler, as per his Twitter handle, appears to prefer 45, which is available. Omar Quintanila is back on a minor league deal and could reacquire No. 6, and Josh Satin could take back No. 3, but no guarantees for either. Finally there’s the complicated case of Pedro Feliciano, who’s worn 55, 39 and 25 in his Met stints. Who knows what they give him this time. His coming back to the Mets without having appeared at all for the Yankees and their arrogant general manager is about the greatest thing ever. I’m less certain he’s got anything left, but that’s what the invite is for.

The rest of the new guys are more or less unknown quanties and likely to take what’s given them.

The following numbers are currently un-issued: 3,4 ,6, 12, 13, 15, 16, 20, 22, 30, 40, 43-47, 50, 55, 56, 58, 60, 61, 63-65, 67-72, 74-99, not to mention 0 and 00.

The following players need assignment, as per the Mets official roster: Pitchers Greg Burke, Gonzalez German, Darrin Gorski, Marcum, Hansel Robles and Wheeler; Catchers Buck, D’Arnaud,and  Anthony Recker, infielders Brandon Hicks and Wilfredo Tovar; and outfielder Collin Cowgill.

Nonroster invitees awaiting unis: Pitchers Scot Atchison, Feliciano, LaTroy Hawkins, Aaron Laffey, Cory Mazzoni, Rafael Montero, and Carlos Torres; Catchers Juan Centeno and Landon Powell; Infielders Brian Bixler and Satin; and outfielders Andrew Brown, Marlon Byrd and Matt den Dekker.

See you in St. Lucie!

(Headline influence by Lindsay Buckingham).

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